Building the Australia-PNG partnership

Media release

11 December 2013

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today co-hosted the 22nd Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum, with her counterpart Rimbink Pato, PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration. Seventeen ministers from Australia and PNG attended the Forum.

The Australia-PNG relationship is one of this Government's highest foreign policy priorities. Australia and PNG enjoy a special relationship – one of mutual affection, shared history, shared geography and shared interests.

The Forum was an opportunity to broaden, deepen and diversify our relationship with PNG, reflecting the rapid changes occurring within our nearest neighbour and basing it on an economic and strategic partnership.

Ministers discussed expanding trade and investment ties and strengthening people-to-people links. This included establishing an Australia-PNG Network to encourage stronger ties between businesses and create an online space for collaboration.

To bolster economic confidence in PNG, we will soon deploy an additional 20 Australian Federal Police officers to join the 30 currently working alongside the Royal PNG Constabulary.

Australia undertook to support PNG's establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund to ensure the economic gains from the resources sector translate to real outcomes for the people of PNG.

Ms Bishop expressed her hope that PNG would be involved in the New Colombo Plan, announced yesterday, in coming years.

Ms Bishop reaffirmed her commitment to visit Papua New Guinea early in 2014, which would be an opportunity to sign an economic cooperation treaty to reflect the contemporary nature of the relationship.

Communiqué: The 22nd Papua New Guinea–Australia Ministerial Forum

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