AUSTRALIAN High Commissioner Chris Moraitis is impressed with how East New Britain province is working in terms of programmes for developments.
Speaking on Monday night during a dinner with the ENB Chamber of Commerce at the Kokopo Beach Bungalows, he said his view was that the absence of the easy resource wealth such as gold, oil or gas has encouraged the province to focus on their own capacity to deal with a difficult and challenging environment to develop economical avenues.
He said there was a lot to learn from ENB and that was one of the reasons he came to see what worked in the province.
Mr Moraitis described his impression about ENB as “bottling it up in a little AusAID bottle and delivering it to other provinces to see and deliver some socio-economic developments for the rest of the country in the model that ENB has developed.”
He said the Australian High Commission placed high priority on stakeholders at the national and provincial level on their policy approach and level of cooperation with the PNG Government.
He said Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal had emphasised on consulting business community and stakeholders on what the country needs before entering into any substantial negotiations.
Agreements have been drawn up for development skills and regular training investment policies which supports and sustain economic growth such as trade research initiative which allows each Forum Island country to access up to AUS$ 65,000 (K130,000) to fund independent technical studies to support preparations into negotiations.
Meanwhile, during his visit Mr Moraitis discussed with the provincial government their plans for autonomy saying it was a “scary word” but the province and its leaders showed great enthusiasm to embrace it.
He said ENB was one of the leading provinces that AusAID has been working with to implement the National Government’s provincial performance improvement initiative to deliver strong administration and services to the people.