6 December 2011
Dear Mr Collins
Thank you for your letter of 24 November 2011 regarding reports of a food crisis in the Intan Jaya district of Papua.
Australia is concerned about these reports and is committed to helping the people of Papua and West Papua , which are two of Indonesia's poorest provinces.
Australian aid to Papua has grown substantially in recent years, from $1.8 million in 2004-05 to $16.4 million in 2010-11. Papua and West Papua are two of five priority provinces of the Australian aid program in Indonesia.
To date, Australian programs to Papua and West Papua have focused on maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, community development, governance and scholarships. This focus will continue , with australia examining the prospects for additional efforts in the areas of health , education , infrastructure and local governance.
Australia has also recently announced a $112 million rural development initiative which will focus on some of Indonesia poorest provinces, including Papua and West Papua. The initiative aims to improve the lives of one million impoverished Indonesian farmers and help them grow more food, encouraging a move away from subsistence farming towards producing for markets.
I hope this information is helpful and thank you for your interest in Australia's aid program.
A/G Assistant Director-General
Indonesia East Timor Group