Envoy: PNG, Australia face similar hurdles

National, Normal

The Nationl, Monday 3rd September, 2012

PAPUA New Guinea and Australia face similar challenges in the current global environment, acting Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson says.
“We are both countries that possess abundant and diverse natural resources. We are both in the process of capitalising on these resources and responding to continued demand from growing East Asian economies,” she said last Thursday.
These included, but not limited to, the rapid expansion of the LNG sector. 
Speaking at the opening of PNG Australia Alumni Association conference in Port Moresby, Adamson said as in PNG, some of the most transformational changes in Australia were occurring in the services sector and in areas such as telecommunications.
She said both countries have been tackling some of the same policy issues such as the potential for “two speed” economic growth and Dutch Disease associated with rapid growth of the resources sector.
Others included how to best manage resource revenues such as through a Sovereign Wealth fund, how best to improve health and education services for the population and how best to connect people across vast distances such as through improved internet services.
“Both our economies are benefiting from enviable periods of rapid growth,” she said.
Adamson said PNG was in the midst of its longest running period of economic growth in its history.
She said the country was the sixth fastest growing economy following Qatar, Ghana, Mongolia, Iraq and China.
This meant that bilateral relations between the two  countries was evolving.
“Papua New Guinea wants to steer the focus of our engagement beyond development cooperation towards broader bilateral cooperation,” she said.
A number of initiatives were underway to progress this, she said.
“There is a proposal to develop an economic cooperation agreement. This makes sense. Papua New Guinea Trade and Investment has grown strongly in recent years and outweighs the size of development assistance,” she said.