“Australia is expected to argue strongly against providing debt relief to tsunami-affected nations at a meeting of creditor countries in Paris tomorrow.

Australia’s stance will place it at odds with most of the other 18 members of what is known as the Paris Club, an informal group of developed nations which meets monthly to consider payment difficulties of debtor nations.

Aid advocates argue that the Government’s concerns with debt relief are misplaced. Development and trade consultant Jim Redden said yesterday Germany had pioneered “debt for aid swaps”, under which debt is forgiven provided the debtor country allocates a fixed amount of local currency to agreed aid projects. This allowed debt to be written off while ensuring aid was delivered.” (n.c.a)