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Aussies give aid to Commonwealth

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Australia is to provide a new Aus. $10 million aid package, aimed at fostering sport in developing Commonwealth countries.

Announcing the Australian Sport Outreach Programme following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Malta, the Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that the aid would provide support for sports coaching, education and club administration procedures. {{more}}

The programme was also designed to offer an effective vehicle for addressing broader community issues such as HIV/AIDS awareness, non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes), youth leadership and personal development.

Howard said that the programme would run from July 2006 to July 2011 and would supersede the Australian Government sports development programmes in Pacific, African and Caribbean countries, due to cease from June 2006.

Of the new Aus $10 million allocation, each year Aus.$1 million would be earmarked for the Pacific and Aus.$1 million to Commonwealth countries in other regions.

The Australian Sports Outreach Programme will commence shortly after the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games in March.

Howard said that the Melbourne Games would represent the pinnacle of sporting achievement in the Commonwealth and involve more than 4,500 athletes from the 53 Commonwealth members and 18 territories.

The Australian Government is contributing Aus.$294 million to the staging of the event.

This included Aus.$7.5 million to assist all teams to travel to the Games, with a particular focus on smaller teams from developing countries.

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