Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday February 25th, 2014


UNITED Resource Party leader William Duma has been dumped as Petroleum and Energy Minister in the first Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill 18 months into his coalition government’s term.

The other Cabinet minister to lose his portfolio is David Arore as Higher Education Minister. 

The reshuffle sees:

  • Nixon Duban, a member of the O’Neill’s People’s National Congress Party and former Police Minister, become the new Minister for Petroleum and Energy;
  • Nick Kuman, also a member of the PNC Party, become Education Minister;
  • Delilah Gore of THE Party appointed Minister for Higher Education;
  • Robert Atiyafa, an independent MP, appointed Police Minister.

O’Neill said: “I have decided to make these changes after 18 months of government since the 2012 election. My decision has been based on performance, teamwork and stability.

“I have every confidence that Nick Kuman, Delilah Gore and Robert Atiyafa as they bring into cabinet a wealth of knowledge and experience drawn from many years of active service in politics, government and public service.”

O’Neill thanked the Arore and Duma for their services to the Government and the country and welcomed the newly-appointed ministers.

“It is prerogative of any Prime Minister to make changes to the composition of the cabinet whenever it is necessary and as incumbent I have to make decisions at this time which may not be acceptable to some,” he said.

“Cabinet solidarity, teamwork and performance are key ingredients whereby the government can successfully deliver services to the expectation of citizens as well as foreign investors, multi-lateral agencies, development partners and friendly countries that have strategic interest in the development of Papua New Guinea.”

Duma’s departure leaves two United Resource Party members in Cabinet – Fabian Pok as Defence Minister and Steven Kama as Minister for Autonomous Regions. Sohe MP Gore is only the second female to be appointed as a Cabinet Minister. 

The other is Lae MP Loujaya Kouza, the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Religion. 

O’Neill said Petroleum and Energy Minister Duban (pictured) had been specifically tasked to oversee the completion of major petroleum and gas projects. 

It includes the commissioning of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) processing facilities for Train One and Two of the PNG LNG project, development of Train Three and the Elk Antelope project in Gulf headed by TOTAL, and other gas projects in Western.