Botten points out need to address social issues

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THE government and private sector should develop new partnerships to bring entire communities along Papua New Guinea’s development journey, especially young people, says Oil Search managing director Peter Botten.
He told delegates attending the 15th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Sydney that work was needed to develop sustainable non-project related activities and skills training that engaged thousands of young people in the communities.
“During the life of a 20-year LNG contract, the population will almost double,” Botten said.
“With over 50 per cent of the population in PNG under the age of 25 years, there is a real need to focus on skills development.
“We, as developers, must work with Government to ensure we play our part in addressing these social challenges.
“It is clear what has worked in the past won’t work in the future. If we don’t change how we work with our communities and governments, we run the risk of not reaching anywhere near the full potential that this wonderful country has to deliver better lives and a prosperous economy.
“We must continue to build on partnerships with Government and communities that deliver critical infrastructure including roads, schools, health centres and churches.
“We need to play a facilitation role enabling local communities to become key owners in power generation, power distribution, internet and telephone services as well as downstream developments where provision of local gas makes sense.
“We also need to focus on the trades, such as carpentry and construction skills, and build on agricultural skills in the communities, provide infrastructure connecting growers to markets, and business skills to manage their companies.
“We must engage the whole population, women and men, in these initiatives, bringing as many people as possible along on the development journey.”

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