A new report has found that Australia’s decade-long assistance mission to Solomon Islands achieved some results but at a ‘massive and disproportionate’ cost to Australia.
Radio Australia network reports according to the Lowy Institute’s report on the country’s Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, the whole operation cost Australia 2.6 billion Australian Dollars.
Recently launched, the report is the first to put a price tag on the whole operation.
The report’s author and director of the Myer Melanesia Program, Jenny Hayward Jones, say the costs built up largely because there was no clearly defined exit strategy at the beginning of the mission.
Speaking to Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program she says this could have enabled the mission to draw down after some early successes, adding there was also a bit of a sense of ‘mission drift’ as the mission took on more and more tasks the longer it stayed.
Ms Hayward Jones says that before she started her research, there was no breakdown of expenditure across RAMSI’s three main areas – law and justice, economic governance and the machinery of government.
She adds the research shows that the bulk of funds were spent on law and justice, which consumed just over 83 per cent of the total cost.
The Federal Police alone spent 1.5 billion Australian dollars over the decade.