Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Doorstop interview, Melbourne

Topic: Australia-PNG LNG Ministerial Meeting

Transcript, E&OE

1 July 2010

QUESTION: Minister, how did it go?

SMITH: A very good meeting, very positive, very productive, Australia and Papua New Guinea working closely together, trying to help Papua New Guinea get the long term benefits of a very large liquefied natural gas project.

QUESTION: How important does Australia feel that it is that PNG's Government is open about where that wealth is coming from?

SMITH: PNG is of course a sovereign government in its own right, a longstanding friend and partner and we want to give PNG every assistance. And we have a lot of expertise firstly in liquefied natural gas projects themselves, but secondly, and importantly from Papua New Guinea's perspective, we have a lot of relevant recent experience about the establishment of sovereign wealth funds, the establishment of the Future Fund and how you can dedicate revenue streams off resource projects for the long term benefit of your people.

And that's where we're making every assistance available to Papua New Guinea so that it can make its own judgements and its own decisions. But the Government of Papua New Guinea is motivated very much by trying to ensure the long term benefits go to the people of Papua New Guinea.

QUESTION: What's the first step? You met today, what's next?

SMITH: We've agreed that our Ministerial committee should meet at least annually, but we have left open the possibility that we'll meet once again before the end of this year to make sure that every assistance we can offer Papua New Guinea both during the construction phase and also the post construction phase is there.

We want to help and we're very pleased with the productive and positive meeting that we've had.

QUESTION: It's pretty good for Australia too, the gas project?

SMITH: Well, if Papua New Guinea is economically strong, that of course benefits Australia. And it's a very large liquefied natural gas project and of course Australian expertise and Australian companies will be very interested in trying to become a part of the construction and operation phase.

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