O’Neill: PNG needs to get involved, not sit back

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013


PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the asylum seekers deal was taken as a deed of responsibility in addressing regional issues. 

He told members of the public, students and academics at the University of PNG yesterday that it was time for the country to step forward and address regional and global challenges. 

“We are the biggest economy in the Pacific, apart from Australia and New Zealand, the biggest Melanesian country with resources,” he said. 

“This is a regional issue and PNG is taking its place by taking responsibility of this regional matter, and it takes it seriously. 

“We have signed treaties and conventions because we are a part of the global family. What was done was taking the opportunity available to PNG.”

He said Australia had stepped in with support for PNG and it was good that we could return the same.    

“Australia has always stood by us when no one wanted to. For example, when the Rudd government gave us A$500 million to start the PNG LNG project when no one else wanted to help,” he said. 

“We cannot sit back and continue to be receiver of aid and donor assistance. 

“We will take in more and process them here in Manus. They will not automatically be resettled here or given citizenship right away. People are being misled into thinking like this,” he said.