The Australian government has announced it will provide AUD $50 million to support Sri Lanka amid its worst economic crisis in 70 years.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong announced the Official Development Assistance will be provided to “support Sri Lanka meet urgent food and healthcare needs”.

In her statement, Ms Wong said there are “deeper consequences for the region if this crisis continues”.

Sri Lanka currently faces its worst economic crisis in seventy years, leading to shortages of food, medicine, and fuel.

The Foreign Minister said Australia has a close and long-standing relationship with Sri Lanka. “Not only do we want to help the people of Sri Lanka in its time of need, there are also deeper consequences for the region if this crisis continues.”

“We will contribute an immediate $22 million to the World Food Programme for emergency food assistance to help three million people in Sri Lanka meet their daily nutritional needs.”

“Australia will also provide $23 million in development assistance to Sri Lanka in 2022-23.”

“This will support health services, and economic recovery, with a strong emphasis on protecting those at risk, especially women and girls.”

These contributions are in addition to $5 million recently provided to United Nations agencies for Sri Lanka.

Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell says he expects further funding to be announced for the Sri Lankan Navy, with Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil visiting the nation to talk with Sri Lanka’s Commander of the Navy and Prime Minister.

“The suggestion here is the Sri Lankan police, the Sri Lankan Navy, will now do more to attempt to stop those boats with some assistance from the Australian government,” he said.