Visit to Papua New Guinea

Media release

3 May 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr will visit Papua New Guinea (PNG) from 3 to 4 May for talks with the PNG Government on regional, bilateral and development issues.

Senator Carr will meet with Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, Minister for National Planning Charles Abel, and other senior members of PNG's Government.

Senator Carr said Australia's trade and investment links with PNG are growing.

"We are working together to address challenges in our region such as people smuggling and encouraging Fiji on its path back to democracy," Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr will also address the Burnet Institute's "Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies" Fundraising dinner in Port Moresby.

"It is unacceptable that a woman in PNG is 80 times more likely to die during child birth than a woman in Australia – particularly when the causes are largely avoidable," Senator Carr said.

"Australia is working in partnership with the Government of PNG to improve the health of mothers and babies through our aid program.

"We will provide 1,400 in-country scholarships for training midwives, nurses and community health workers by 2015 and procure and distribute essential medical supplies to all of PNG's hospitals and health centres – 2,700 health facilities in total this year.

"We will also improve access to family planning services, including distributing around 20 million condoms this year.

"This will build on our existing work that, in 2012 alone, has supported more than 552,000 measles vaccinations for children and training for around 275 health workers (midwives, doctors, nurses and pharmacists).

"We can't do this work alone. Fundraising events like this help to engage new partners – particularly from the private sector – to support this important work."

Senator Carr last visited Papua New Guinea in December 2012 to co-chair the Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum.

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