Aust official: PNG has potential to develop

National, Normal

The National, Friday 19th April 2013


PAPUA New Guinea has a great potential for development, Australian parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and Multicultural Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite, says.

Thistlethwaite completed a four-day visit to the country yesterday in which he met senior government officials, addressed the Australia-Papua New Guinea business forum and trade expo and attended the Commonwealth Youth Minister’s meeting.

He also visited the Bomana War Cemetery and the school of midwifery at Pacific Adventist University.

“There is no doubt that a key component of our relationship is our development assistance programme.

“Like other developing countries with rich resource wealth, PNG faces some difficult political and development challenges,” he said.

“Australia’s development assistance programme is designed to work in partnership with the PNG government to address these challenges and our partnership for development, the framework through which our assistance is delivered, is negotiated with the PNG government and is focused on its own development priorities.” 

He said the main areas he would be working on were to assist in the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund and resource development to ensure there was sustainability.  

“Australia’s support for PNG’s efforts to establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund to help manage the benefits of the minerals and LNG boom are an example of this work. We have assisted the PNG government in designing the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill that was passed by the PNG government last year.

“And we’re now focused on building capacity among PNG officials in the policy and administrative secretariats through placements, secondments and education training programs.”