I am so pleased to be here because this marks a very important year in Australia-Papua New Guinea relations. Forty years ago the people of Papua New Guinea made a very important decision and they became an independent nation. From that time, Australia and Papua New Guinea have worked together to forge one of the closest relationships that two countries could share.
We are building on our historic and geographic links to develop a true friendship, indeed a partnership based on affection, trust, respect as well as the people-to-people links that will ensure that this friendship, this partnership, endures.
The Governor said that he hoped there would be a time when Papua New Guinea could give to Australia. You do give to us through your friendship, which we value and treasure and we thank you for it.
This school has a proud history. As Minister Tkatchenko said, you have had some students attend this school who’ve gone on to become Prime Minister. And that shows that with the care and attention and focus of your teachers, with the support and love of your parents, students from this school and schools across Papua New Guinea can achieve their dreams. So, as the Minister said, if you work hard, if you study, if you focus, you can get ahead and achieve what it is you long to do.
The Australian people through our Government have long supported education for the young people of Papua New Guinea. And over many years we have supported the construction of schools, the maintenance of them and courses for the teachers, and other initiatives.
More recently, under a school infrastructure initiative, we have helped construct across Papua New Guinea over 390 classrooms, nearly 200 teaching houses for the teachers and a similar number of ablution blocks.
Here at Kila Kila Primary we are so pleased that we have been able to invest in this school and the teachers and the students with the construction of the 12 new classrooms you see here today.
The environment in which you learn is important and we understand that for the students of Kila Kila Primary, they deserve to have an environment that is welcoming, that is safe, and that is conducive to learning. We want to develop in the students of Papua New Guinea a love of learning that will last a life time.
To the teachers, I hope you enjoy these new surroundings. To the students I hope it encourages you to study hard and appreciate the opportunity that you’ve been given to have an education in this wonderful country of Papua New Guinea. I have visited many times and I hope to continue to come back here as a friend, as a neighbour and as a partner.
Congratulations to the school for all that you have done in educating the young students here, and I look forward to seeing even more students aspire to be leaders of this wonderful nation.
Thank you for having me here today.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555