I would like to thank the Ministers and senior Government of Nepal officials I have met with today for very productive and informative meetings.
These frank exchanges highlight the strengths of Australia and Nepal's development partnership which builds on more than 50 years of diplomatic relations.
The Government of Australia has committed that our global aid program will reach 0.5 of our gross national income by 2016-17.
In the context of this scale up, Australia has increased our aid to Nepal by $5 million dollars this year, bringing it up to $35 million dollars. This represents a tripling of our development assistance to Nepal since 2008.
The Government of Australia is pleased to be supporting Nepal during its challenging transition. AusAID will invest $35 million in education, health, rural livelihoods and governance reform to improve the quality of life of Nepalese people.
Australia recognises that Nepal has made remarkable progress towards many of the Millennium Development Goals but we have concerns that a protracted period of political uncertainty may lead to erosion of some of these gains, and that Nepal may be unable to maintain momentum for reform and economic growth.
Australia is increasingly focused on the results achieved from Australia's aid and managing these in a way that ensures transparency and accountability to our public. Future growth in Australia's aid to Nepal will depend on results achieved and the strengthening of governance and financial management.
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