Focusing on skilled workforce seen as right path for PNG

Business

By HELEN TARAWA
PAPUA New Guinea is now on the brink of the next cycle of resource development, says Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis.
He told the petroleum and energy summit on Wednesday that the scale of economic activity, if done right, should drive benefits for the country.
Davis attributed this to the hosting of the Apec leaders’ summit summit last Nov.
He said PNG’s leaders had recognised that a skilled workforce was required for growth in economic infrastructure.
“The Australian government is committed to playing a strongly supporting role with the Government of Papua New Guinea to meet these requirements,” Davis said.
“Our investments in the education sector, in technical vocational education training, in Australia awards, in partnership with Exxon Mobil, Newcrest and Santos, are giving Papua New Guineans the skills to fill critical workforce gaps in midwifery, agri-business, teaching and the resources sector.”
Davis said Australia’s investments in PNG’s key economic infrastructure had the potential to:

  • have a transformative effect;
  • maximise the opportunity of the big exporting resource projects;
  • help build and transform the country’s small-medium enterprises sector; improve health and education outcomes; and
  • lay the foundations upon which the long-term sustainability of the economy will grow.

He said the PNG-Australia relationship had progressed to a new level of maturity.
Meanwhile, former Canadian minister for natural resources and finance Joe Oliver says Papua New Guinea has enormous potential in petroleum and energy.
Oliver, who was a guest speaker at the petroleum and energy summit, told The National he was impressed that Government wanted to develop resources responsibly.
“I’m very encouraged that the Government wants to develop resources in a responsible way… that’s really important,” he said.
Commenting on the electrification programme, Oliver said 70 per cent of people having electricity by 2030 would transform the country.
“I encourage the Government to move on that,” he said.
“There’s always a small minority that will oppose it, but you are blessed with enormous national resources and you should use it for the benefit of the people.
“That’s what the Government intends to do, and that’s exactly right.”

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