Australia will continue its partnership with PNG

Letters, Normal

IT has been just a few short weeks since we both arrived in Papua New Guinea to take up our new positions as high commissioner and head of AusAID.
We are delighted to be here and look forward to working with our PNG colleagues, visiting as many regions and meeting as many people as possible.
We both, in our own ways, have a personal history with PNG.
We have both spent time here previously, and had little doubt back then that we would return some day.
We are pleased PNG has been able to attract significant investment and the economic future for this country looks so bright.
We are keen to ensure that Australia’s presence in PNG complements this growth and results in the greatest possible benefit for Papua New Guineans.
An important part of our relationship is the aid programme.
It is a partnership as confirmed by the establishment of the partnership for development when prime minister Kevin Rudd met Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare in early 2008.
It is about two governments working together and we are proud of our joint achievements so far.
There are some great examples of the good work being done.
Only last week, we both travelled to Erima school in Port Moresby to witness the delivery of textbooks to the school.
This delivery is part of a programme with the Department of Education which will see more than 3,400 primary schools in PNG receive 539,000 textbooks.
Our partnership in the law and justice sector has supported village courts to promote local access to justice, including an increased number of women being appointed as village court magistrates.
This is a great example of the sector recognising both the value of a more traditional approach to the rule of law and the importance of the role of women.
In the transport sector, the governments of PNG and Australia have worked together to maintain; last year 1,694km of priority roads around PNG.
This will assist Papua New Guineans get their goods to market and access critical services.
This is only a small fraction of the work we are doing together but it does help to paint a picture of an effective partnership.
We know we must not rest on our laurels, and there are no doubt things we could do better.
We want to satisfy ourselves through constant scrutiny that the aid programme is meeting the requirements of Papua New Guineans.
Currently Papua New Guinea and Australia are undertaking a review of the Development Cooperation Treaty.
This provides an opportunity to think jointly about the way ahead and address some of the challenges within the programme.
We look forward to seeing the results of this process so that we can refine and direct programmes to make them even more effective.
We look forward to meeting the people of Papua New Guinea and hearing your views on how we can make this the best development partnership possible.


Ian Kemish
Australian High Commissioner to PNG and Stephanie Copus-Campbell
Head of AusAID