Australian ambassador Angela Corcoran has begun a three-day visit to Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces from Monday to Wednesday, as her country continues to provide aid through civil society organisations to ethnic indigenous groups in the Kingdom’s northeast.

The Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday said Corcoran is to meet with Mondulkiri provincial governor Svay Sam Eang, Ratanakkiri provincial governor Thong Savon and the civil society organisations implementing the Australian aid programme in the area.

Australia is working closely with remote indigenous communities to provide multilingual education and community development to improve livelihoods.

“Australia’s support in Cambodia’s northeastern provinces is targeted towards making a difference in people’s lives – with a particular focus on ensuring inclusive development for indigenous communities in the area,” Corcoran said.

Australian aid is also improving health outcomes and social protection for the poor, early childhood development and supporting communities without access to financial services in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri.

Governors Sam Eang and Savon could not be reached for comment, while Ratanakkiri provincial spokesperson Neang Samath told The Post on Monday that he had not yet received detailed information about the visit. He only has a letter from the Ministry of Interior informing him of Corcoran’s visit.

An overview of Australia’s aid programme on its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website said the country is a leading bilateral grant donor to Cambodia.

In 2018-19, Australia’s estimated official development assistance outcome was $79.7 million. This included an estimated $56.1 million in bilateral funding delivered in Cambodia through DFAT.

The department said that since 2015, Australia’s aid investments have been prioritising three key objectives – improving access to infrastructure, increasing agricultural productivity, and better health and education.

“Consistent with Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper, we will focus across all our programmes on supporting increased prosperity and stability, particularly through inclusive participation, governance, women’s empowerment and disability."

“Our support will prioritise innovative approaches to delivering aid which work closely with the private sector to drive growth and poverty reduction, and will contribute to achieving Australia’s overall aid for trade target by 2020,” the department said.