The National, Monday July 15th, 2013
IT is possible Queensland police, correctional personnel and doctors and nurses will be in PNG by year’s end once legal and administrative issues are resolved.
Officials from PNG and Queensland met last Friday where the matter was raised and mutually accented to.
Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Isaac Lupari led the PNG team that included Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga and Correctional Services Commissioner Martin Balthazar, and senior officers.
The Queensland side was led by Queensland State Minister for Police and Community Safety Jack Dempsey, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart, senior Police, Correctional Services and Health officials.
Top advisors from Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s office also attended the meeting.
PNG noted that since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Campbell signed the cooperation agreement in Port Moresby, the Queensland government appointed a task force to progress this agreement.
Lupari said O’Neill was keen to see Queensland police personnel, doctors and nurses, and correctional service personnel on the ground in PNG before the end of year.
This was welcomed by the Queensland side. Both sides agreed that there were legal and administrative issues that needed to be resolved before Queensland Police, nurses and doctors are deployed in PNG.
It was agreed the deployment of PNG police personnel in Queensland as part of their training might happen first. Both sides agreed this should start with a small team of 10 or 15 police men and women.
Kulunga said they had identified some areas of weaknesses which the cooperation programmed would help address.
For health, O’Neill’s commitment to address health issues in Daru will see a team from Queensland being dispatched as early as next month to study the proposal to build a new Daru hospital.
Both sides noted the work of AusAID in building a new TB wing for the old Daru hospital. Lupari stressed the province received enough revenue from Ok Tedi mine for a new hospital to be a priority.
The exchange of doctors and nurses will be included in the review of an MoU signed in 2010, which will be reviewed in October.