O’Neill, Bryce discuss health, education issues

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 24th April 2013

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill and Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce discussed issues on health, education and women during their meeting on Monday.

O’Neill said health and education were his government’s priorities as shown by the big budget allocations for 2013 compared with previous years.

He said his government was committed to its free education and healthcare initiatives.

O’Neill told Bryce that AusAID was helping to streamline and improve the procurement system for drugs for hospitals, an area plagued with mismanagement and corrupt practices over the years.

He also acknowledged the Australian government’s assistance in midwifery training and other areas in PNG.

O’Neill told Bryce that free education had prompted an increase of females in schools.

“Women are proving themselves to be effective leaders in business and the public service,” he said. 

“If we give them the opportunity at an early age, such as providing free education, we are unlocking the potential we know we have, and the nation will only benefit.”

The prime minister thanked Australia’s annual assistance but suggested that AusAID programme should not overlap with his government’s initiatives and projects.

O’Neill said the Australian taxpayers would get better result from their assistance if it was focused on impact projects rather than spreading the resources thinly and duplicating roles.

He suggested that young Australians should be encouraged to spend their gap year in PNG rather than in Europe.

Bryce said she was happy to visit PNG and paid tribute to local carriers who sacrificed and stood alongside Australian soldiers during World War II.