PM: Aust knows where we stand

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday October 10th, 2013

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is happy with the outcome of his talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Bali, Indonesia, especially on regional border security cooperation.

“We are in complete agreement that people smuggling must be defeated, and that regional border security was a challenge for both our nations and our regional partners,” he said.

“I am delighted to be able to inform the people of Papua New Guinea that the Australian Prime Minister endorsed the Manus Agreement that is seeing the significant development of the Manus detention centre.

“I confirmed to Abbott that Papua New Guinea would play its role in strengthening border security in our region, and that we will work hand in hand with his Government in particular in doing so.”

“People smuggling is not just a problem for Australia and Indonesia. It is a problem for PNG and other regional nations.”

He welcomed Australia’s development assistance programme for PNG.

“We welcome the new Australian government’s focus on cutting bureaucratic processes in delivering development assistance, or aid, and in ensuring both Australia as the aid donor, and PNG as the aid recipient, benefit from it,” he said.

“We are committed to working with the Australian Government in ensuring the aid programme is more visible, and delivers outcomes that help strengthen our government-to-government and people-to-people relationship.”

They also discussed policing and wider law and order assistance, including the provision of short-term Federal Police assistance for Port Moresby and Lae.

O’Neill invited Abbott to visit PNG “when his schedule permits”.

“My government and I look forward to working with Abbott, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and their colleagues in adding new dimensions to our most important bilateral relationship in the future,” he said.