The National, Wednesday 24th April 2013
By MALUM NALU
AUSAID deputy director-general James Batley says a lot of rehabilitation work stills needs to be done in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville following the Bougainville Crisis.
Batley, who visited Bougainville last week, told The National AusAID had a long involvement with Bougainville and was continuing to do so in its four main focus areas of health, education, transport infrastructure, and law and order.
“So, for instance, we are providing funds to maintain about 500km of the road system in Bougainville, particularly the main trunk road from Buka to Arawa,” he said.
“That’s about 80% of the roads in Bougainville. We’re supporting the education system.
“When I was in Bougainville, I handed over double classrooms in two different primary schools.
“That was along with ablution blocks and teachers’ houses in both of these schools as well.
“There are a lot of children coming back to school in Bougainville. It’s a sign of confidence in the future and we certainly want to support that.”
Batley said there was, of course, a lot of rehabilitation to work on following the Bougainville Crisis which wreaked havoc on the region.
“We’re also providing support to peace initiatives in Bougainville to make sure that the process of reconciliation can continue and that Bougainville remains a peaceful region as long as possible,” he said.
“That’s the special case of Bougainville, I guess.
“My purpose for visiting several parts of Bougainville was that we are doing good work there, and it’s certainly strongly appreciated by the people there. But obviously, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on Bougainville … damage done during the crisis there.