By HELEN TARAWA
WORKS Minister Francis Awesa is putting through a proposal for a national highway to connect Popondetta to Port Moresby.
It will be one of the 16 “missing links” yet to be established in the country.
Awesa told The National that he has had three meetings so far with Australian government officials in which he revealed his plans to call the proposed Popondetta-Port Moresby link the Anzac Highway.
“I’m proposing that they should call it Anzac Highway. That’s more meaningful to the country because many Papua New Guineans fought there; they were fighters and carriers,” he said.
“Australians and New Zealand soldiers also died there so it’s a meaningful contribution.
“We are not going to be here in the bush track forever because we are a developing country, we need to open up.
“I told the Australian high commissioner, in three meetings so far, they are trying to alter the way they think for aid in PNG.
“The next bilateral talks in Canberra with the relevant ministers we are going to discuss this.
“That’s the challenge, hopefully some big decisions would have to be made in Canberra, New Zealand and PNG.
“That’s something that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. It’s important; we cannot continue to say it’s a bush track for tourists.
“The more important agenda is the construction of the major road link from Northern to the capital.”
Awesa said the Popondetta to Port Moresby link was one of the missing links and it was about time the track was upgraded and called Anzac Highway.
“Northern is one of the important economic provinces because of the oil palm and the history of war.
“We need to address that province in a more determined way. The Australian government and everybody is serious. Let’s call it a highway and donate it in memory of all their people who fought in the war, especially all the former war veterans.”
By HELEN TARAWA