Navigate Up
Sign In


Overview of Australia’s aid program to Nauru

2013/14 Estimated Outcome: $22.3 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate: $27.1 million

Australia is Nauru’s most significant donor partner, contributing approximately 20 per cent of domestic revenue in 2013-14. The development assistance program is helping to build and strengthen Nauru’s own public sector systems and essential services for the community. Our assistance is focused on advancing Nauru’s own development planning and priorities by supporting Nauru to frame its own investment choices around reform and promotion of good governance.

Most Nauruans live modest lifestyles based on low incomes. Unemployment levels, particularly among youth have been typically very high since the mid-1990s. However, recent significant growth in the private sector has resulted in Nauru now enjoying almost full employment with many households now earning higher incomes than has been the case for many years. Despite this, there are no banking services available on the island and poor health and education outcomes persist. Despite significant progress in reducing Nauru’s debt burden in recent years, high debt levels continue to absorb significant funding and the economy is easily affected by external influences. Energy and clean water production are reliant on the costly importation of diesel fuel. Public sector management is hampered by a lack of skilled and qualified personnel, and critical national infrastructure is dilapidated.

Australia and Nauru entered into a Partnership for Development in 2009 with the shared objective of supporting stable, trustworthy and fiscally responsible government; enhancing the provision of social, infrastructure and utilities services; and supporting the development of an economy based on multiple sources of income. The program focusses on the following priorities:

More efficient and accountable public sector management

Australia is helping with the Government of Nauru to support implementation of its strategies for public sector reform, improved economic governance and financial management including delivery and management of national budgets, reducing fiscal risk and improving revenue generation.

Governance assistance in Nauru

Reliable and cost effective provision of infrastructure and essential services

Australian is helping to improve the reliability and cost effectiveness of power and water services by strengthening governance, maintenance and cost recovery arrangements; increasing the use of renewable energy sources and clean water capture, particularly at the household level; and by supporting the maintenance and development of essential infrastructure such as schools, health facilities and power and water distribution systems.

Increased private sector growth

Australia is working with Nauru to foster private sector growth by pursuing mutually beneficial regional trade liberalisation and economic integration arrangements, supporting more sustainable management of the phosphate and fisheries sectors and enhancing access to credible financial and insurance services.

Improved education

Australia will invest in education services supporting the Government of Nauru’s education sector strategies. The strategy aims to deliver education pathways that develop locally and regionally relevant skills emphasizing more and better qualified teachers, improving student retention rates and education attainment levels and enhancing access to quality tertiary and technical and vocational education services.

Education assistance in Nauru

A cost effective health system which delivers improved health outcomes

Australia is working closely with Nauru to build a stronger healthcare system that will improve maternal and child health outcomes by addressing child nutrition and improving access to quality ante and post natal care. Our investments aim to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and sexually transmitted infections through more effective preventative and public health programs. We are strengthening health system management, including strategic planning, infrastructure redevelopment, budget prioritization and improved collection and management of health statistics.

Health assistance in Nauru

Our results

  • With support from Australia, Nauru has achieved 100 per cent primary school enrolment in 2013-14, up from just 69 per cent in 2002.
  • Australian assistance has helped Nauru maintain a 95 per cent coverage rate for key vaccines including tuberculosis, measles, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria and tetanus.
  • The Australian funded debt management strategy has helped Nauru reduce its overall debt burden by more than 90 percent since 2006.

Related documents

Education assistance in Nauru


Australia is working with Nauru’s Department of Education to improve the number and quality of teaching staff, and increase enrolment and retention rates of students. The overarching aim is to provide better employment opportunities for Nauruans through skills-building that is relevant to both the local and international markets.

Assistance ($3.8 million, 2013-14) is being put towards improved management of the Department of Education through the funding of a number of senior management roles. Australia is directly financing teacher salaries and teacher training programs to improve the quality of education in classrooms, and school refurbishments are taking place to better the overall learning environment for students. The development of a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) curriculum is also enabling the new secondary school to offer internationally recognised TVET certificates—assisting greatly with future job prospects.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Nauru Partnership Priority Outcome 2: Improved Education 2009 Partnership priority outcome
Education Sector Strategic Plan 2008-13 2008 Partner government strategic plan

Governance assistance in Nauru


The priority of Australian assistance in Nauru’s public sector ($3.5 million, 2013-14) is to support key government reforms to better manage national budgets, strengthen public financial management more broadly, improve government communications and enhance data collection. To achieve this, Australia is funding the recruitment and salaries of three Deputy Secretaries within the Department of Finance. These positions are responsible for revenue collection including customs revenue, debt management, public expenditure policy, as well as broad fiscal management.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Nauru-Australia Partnership for Development 2009 Partnership document
MoU between Australia and Nauru on the Development Cooperation Program 2009 Memorandum of Understanding

Health assistance in Nauru


Australian support is funding senior management roles in the Ministry for Health, as well as support staff in the public health sector, in addition to providing training for existing health staff. Financing ($3.9m; 2013-14) is also going towards hospital maintenance and the supply of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, assistance with nurses’ salaries, and medical specialist visits.

There is a strong investment in health promotion through education campaigns, particularly around the prevention of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. Treatment of life-style related and non-communicable diseases accounts for a large proportion of Nauru’s health spending. There has been a strong focus on child health and nutrition for this reason, including an improved nutrition program which benefited around 1,500 infant and primary school children.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Health Sector Strategic Plan 2010–2015 2010 Strategic plan
Nauru Partnership Priority Outcome 3: A cost-effective health system which delivers improved health outcomes 2012 Partnership priority

Last reviewed: 16 December, 2014