THE transport relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea received a boost last Friday with the signing of an agreement on strengthening transport safety and security in PNG.
The agreement came with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Transport cooperation at the conclusion of the inaugural meeting of Australia-PNG senior transport officials in Brisbane.
The MoU was signed by the Australian secretary of the department of infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government, Mike Mrdak, and the secretary of the PNG Department of Transport, Henry Parakei.
The MoU, first flagged at the Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum meeting in June, will underpin a joint work programme on key PNG transport priorities in the areas of air traffic management, safety regulation, accident investigation and transport policy.
The work programme will be delivered through arrangements between Australian government transport agencies, including the civil aviation safety authority, the Australian transport safety bureau and Air Services Australia, and their PNG counterparts.
The MoU would build on work already being done by infrastructure portfolio officials deployed to PNG and under existing AusAID-funded transport projects such as the A$280 million K727 million) transport sector support programme and the upcoming A$50 million (K130 million) Australia-PNG transport infrastructure schedule of the partnership for development.
Friday’s agreement added a new chapter to Australia’s history of close cooperation with PNG on transport issues, the Australian department of infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government said in a statement.