Australia, PNG look to enhance relationship, benefits

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Papua New Guinea and Australia must look at ways to enhance the relationship of being more than neighbours and friends, Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis says.
Davis, who was a guest speaker at the 2019 Update forum yesterday, said: “Yumi em wantok (we are family). Our partnership does not exist in a vacuum. It is the product of a special shared history.
“PNG and Australia are near neighbours, but the similarities between us go far beyond geographic proximity,” he said. Davis said Australia was well placed to work with PNG on shared challenges in the 44 years since Independence.
“We continue to work together in other areas of security cooperation as well, whether it be border security, policing, customs and immigration.
“Striking the right balance in realising taxation and royalty returns while remaining an internationally competitive destination for scarce foreign investment is not straightforward.
“It is a challenge which Australia, like PNG, has grappled with.
“It is entirely reasonable that PNG is concerned with securing an equitable share of resource revenue,” Davis said.
“At the same time, investors will favour a transparent and predictable operating environment and will naturally seek the best deal possible.”
Davis said in Australia’s experience, foreign investment had proven critical for economic growth and had helped drive over 30 years of uninterrupted economic prosperity.
“As always, we stand ready to engage with PNG who will find Australia to be a committed partner in this endeavour.
“A central focus of our development programme is working with the Government to help achieve a framework that fosters economic growth and translates growth into real benefits for PNG citizens.
“This involves investing in a skilled and healthy workforce, expanding enabling infrastructure and promoting security and access to justice,” he said.
Davis said Australia was paying close attention to PNG’s focus on equipping the young with training and skills to take advantage of expanding opportunities in the formal sector.
“There is no better example of Australia’s development partnership with PNG as an enabler of growth than our investments in infrastructure, roads, ports, energy and telecommunications.”

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