The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA158 - 11 December 2003

New Era of Cooperation With PNG

Australia and Papua New Guinea have agreed on an historic package of enhanced cooperation to help PNG address its key challenges. In a new era for our partnership, Australians will work side-by-side with Papua New Guineans in the areas of policing, law and justice and economic and public sector management.

Up to 230 Australian police personnel will collaborate with the Royal PNG Constabulary in Port Moresby, Bougainville, Lae, Mt Hagen and on the Highlands Highway. Australian assistance will also ensure that Constabulary officers are better equipped and skilled.

Up to 18 Australian specialists will work in (non-policing) law and justice agencies. Positions will include that of Solicitor General, three litigation lawyers in the Solicitor General's office, five prosecutors in the Prosecutor's Office, two correctional service managers, four expatriate judges appointed to the National and Supreme Court and lawyers and specialist officials in other key justice agencies.

Up to 36 Australian officials will work in key economic, finance, planning and spending agencies to help PNG better utilise the 80 percent of its budgetary resources derived internally. They will also help PNG maintain a focused public sector, boost the efficiency of government spending and improve the funding of services and infrastructure. Australian economic officials will be drawn largely from the Australian Departments of Treasury and Finance and Administration.

Ten Australian officials will help streamline PNG's immigration services, border and transport security and management and aviation safety. Four Australian immigration officials will help hone border control and migration management. Two Australian transport security officials will help PNG guarantee the security and safety of its aviation and maritime transport system and to meet international transport security obligations. Three Australian Customs officials will help improve revenue collection, international trade security and border integrity.

Australia will also place a deputy chief executive officer in the PNG Civil Aviation Authority to ensure a high standard of management and governance, particularly in relation to safety regulation and standards.

The enhanced cooperation package represents significant new expenditure for the policing components. The economic, border and transport management assistance will be drawn from the existing aid program.

The package was finalised at the Australia PNG Ministerial Forum held in Adelaide today. The Australian Delegation was led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and included the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock; the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Senator Amanda Vanstone; the Minister for Customs and Justice Senator Chris Ellison; and the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Malcolm Brough.

The Papua New Guinea delegation was led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Sir Rabbie Namaliu and included the Minister for Mining and Petroleum Sir Moi Avei; the Minister for Finance and Treasury Bart Philemon; the Minister for Internal Security Bire Kimisope; the Minister for Inter-Government Relations Sir Peter Barter; the Minister for Defence Kappa Yarka; Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Sinai Brown; the Minister for Public Service Peter O'Neill; and the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Mark Maipakai.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministers office) (02) 6277 7500 - Julie McDonald (Departmental) (02) 6261 1555

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