$3b price of Labor's UN desire
Huge Security Council bid bill
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AUSTRALIAN aid spending in Africa, the Caribbean, South East Asia and the Pacific has increased by $3 billion since the government announced its bid for the UN Security Council.
Countries usually not supported by Australia, which the government believes are now backing the bid have been lavished with tens of millions of dollars.
The government claims the campaign announced by Kevin Rudd in 2008 for the seat, which will be voted on at the UN later this month, has cost $23.59 million.
However, aid and development spending in countries believed to be backing Australia has exploded,with taxpayers now funding everything from diplomatic training in the Caribbean to mango production practices in Cambodia and pearl culture in Tanzania.
The increase in spending has come as Australia committed to increase its aid budget to 05 per cent of GDP by 2015, up from 0.32 in 2008-09, but government sources said the sudden change in focus outside of Australia's region to Africa and the Caribbean was designed around the bid.
Spending in Africa, where the government has concentrated much of its effort due to the region's 50 UN votes, has included a $300,000 membership of a convention on biological diversity in Kenya.
The number of African countries receiving support doubled between 2008-10, a government aid spending report revealed, with total spending in the region leaping from $101 million in 2007-08 to $354 millon this financial year. Australia is now funding services including food, shelter, health and education safe water and sanitation in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Cote d'lvoire, Chad and the Central African Republic. A water safety project for Malawi, Mozambique Zambia and Zimbabwe is also being funded by Australian taxpayers
Australia has given $17.3 million to help African countries improve law and order and justice and $143,000 for an African Network of Forensic Medicine forum.
In 2011, Australia hosted 60 African heads of state or delegations, while Governor-General Quentin Bryce visited nine African states in 2009. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has appointed five special envoys to Africa.
Five years ago Australia gave no aid to the Caribbean but the region along with South America, has been lavished with almost $170 million in assistance since the UN bid was announced. The government believes it has the support of 15 Caribbean countries.
A scholarship program in 2010 cost $150,000 and $210,000 was spent on a Caribbean Economic Resilience Design.
South America has also benefited with $65 million given to a giant telescope project in Chile.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr denied the aid and development splurge is linked with the bid.
"Australia's aid program is not a part of the UNSC bid budget," his spokeswoman said. She said Australian aid alleviated poverty, helped children and added, "we cannot be serious about alleviating global poverty without considering
ways to support Africa".