The National, Wednesday July 3rd, 2013
THE Papua New Guinea and Queensland governments will work together to help improve law and order and health issues in PNG, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.
He told the Townsville chamber of commerce during his first visit there last weekend that PNG and Queensland had signed a new co-operation agreement during Premier Campbell Newman’s recent visit to PNG.
O’Neill said the new co-operation agreement would strengthen business and help build capacity and reform in the public sector.
He said critical challenges like law and order, community safety and health and hospital services would be addressed in partnership.
O’Neill said PNG did not have the capacity in its police force and health and hospitals to meet the enormous challenges of health and law and order.
He said the capacity in key public service departments to implement good public policy and a significant lift in budgeted spending was not adequate.
However, Queensland had the skills and the experiences in the areas PNG lacked such as in policing, hospitals and basic health care, roads, ports, prisons, agriculture and small businesses, O’Neill said.
“It is a real impediment not just to investment and tourism, a real impediment to the development of our own business sector and it is of course a real threat to the safety of our people and visitors,” O’Neill said.
“I am absolutely committed to not just reducing crime, but to delivering long-term safety and security for the seven million people of Papua New Guinea and for our visitors and our investors.”
O’Neill said PNG did not need law and order advisers but needed practical, hands-on policemen and women who could work side by side with the local police personnel.
“We want your police personnel to train our police, and the agreement includes sending our police personnel to work in police stations here in Queensland,” he said.
“If we can reduce crime, our people will be safer and happier, and especially our women will enjoy the dignity they deserve.
“It will also improve our investment climate and our business environment.”