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Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade releases $3.5 million grant to USP

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade releases $3.5 million grant to USP

By Shanil Singh
Thursday 28/11/2019

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have confirmed that they have released $3.5 million grant to the University of the South Pacific this month, following their decision to appoint a commission.

The USP appointed Commissioners to look into allegations of abuse of office at USP earlier this year.

The Commission’s work will be focused on the development and implementation of an action plan to support outcomes for a stronger USP.

Australian Foreign Affairs says that they anticipate further payments to USP early next year and the funding will return to its usual schedule in the first half of 2020.

They say that DFAT and USP have jointly agreed to modify the schedule of payments to support reform actions by the University following the BDO report to USP Council and their decision to appoint an independent commission.

This is after USP Vice Chancellor Pal Ahluwalia had stated before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs that the Australian Government had withdrawn funding following the allegations.

He stated that the Australian Government usually gives them $14 million but had only given $3.5 million so far in the first quarter and have not given anything since.

Meanwhile, Ahluwalia also said that the Fijian Government is also yet to give them the remaining 2018-2019 grant which is about $9.9 million.

He added they are still waiting for the 2019-2020 grant which he hopes they will receive shortly.

The Education Ministry is yet to respond to our questions.

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