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Team O’Neill briefed

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PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is looking forward to “vibrant debates” in Cabinet over the next five years after welcoming 20 new faces during its first meeting yesterday.
Of the 33 ministers sworn in on Wednesday, 13 including himself were in the previous Cabinet.
During yesterday’s meeting at the Sir Manasupe Building in Port Moresby, the new ministers were briefed on the National Executive Council processes and protocols.
Cabinet also discussed “legislative expectations for current term of government”.
“Being sworn in as a minister by the governor-general, and taking a seat on the National Executive Council, is one of the most important roles in Government,” O’Neill said.
“Serving as a member of the NEC carries an enormous responsibility and I have great confidence in the ministers of our Government.
“The NEC meeting today (yesterday) provided an opportunity for new members to be briefed on the workings of Cabinet, and for discussion with continuing ministers.
“We have a very good combination of experience in ministers who have been in previous governments, and a number of new ministers who are new to the NEC process.
“As chair of the NEC, I am confident there will be vibrant debate on submissions that are presented to Cabinet. “There is great unity of purpose in our Cabinet to deliver the most-sound decisions in the national interest.
“We have a significant policy agenda to deliver, and a range appointments to confirm.
“There is only five months remaining in 2017 and I expect the coming months will have an intense agenda for the NEC.”
He formally congratulated the ministers on their appointment to Cabinet “and I look forward to the work programme that is ahead of us”.
O’Neill, apart from chairing the NEC, is also Minister for Sports and Apec.
He said after the swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Wednesday that he had tried to have a “good regional balance” in the composition of Cabinet.
There is only one minister from Morobe, the country’s biggest province with nine districts, because the other MPs had elected to join the Opposition.

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