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Australia commends PNG for hosting APEC

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has applauded PNG for hosting APEC this year.

“To host the APEC meeting is a huge undertaking for any nation and this provides an opportunity for PNG to showcase its people, culture and policies to the world,” she said.

“There will be an enormous focus on PNG during 2018 as you welcome leaders from the APEC economies here.

“Australia, in partnership with you, wants to ensure that this is one of the most successful APEC meetings ever.”

Bishop spoke during the opening of the Institute of Public Administration building named after Sir Sere Pitoi, the University of PNG lecture theatre, and the opening of the Students Services building in Port Moresby Thursday.

“The partnership between Australia and PNG through the precinct aims at sharing experiences on how to improve governance and service delivery at national, provincial and district levels.

This is to encourage values-based decision making in the PNG public service.

It also promotes linkages between the public and private sectors, civil society and professional associations, facilitating dialogue on public policy challenges and opportunities, and how ethical leaders can support positive change.”

Meanwhile, Ausralia has promised to support PNG through the “reconstruction phase” following last month’s earthquake, with another team of doctors to arrive shortly to help out where needed.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop made the commitment in Port Moresby, saying her government has been providing AUD$550 million (K1.35 billion) to PNG annually for its development programme.

“On behalf of the Australian government, I extend my deepest sympathies to all Papuan New Guineans. Many people lost their lives and many are still in great need of assistance as the nation comprehends the sheer scale of the devastation,” she said.

“I was able to see Australian defence personnel with the C130 transport plane and the Chinook helicopters at the Jackson airport. They are working in partnership with the PNG Defence Force to take supplies and personnel into the Highlands.

“Another team of Australian doctors will be arriving shortly as part of the Australia’s medical assistance team. They will be working with NGOs, the private sector and government to provide relief.”

He assured Prime Minister Peter O’Neill “that the Australian government will continue to work with you as you enter the reconstruction phase”.

“We will partner with you on the priorities that the government has for the reconstruction of those devastated areas.”

O’Neill thanked Australia for its strong support in providing relief efforts in the disaster areas.

“Without their logistic support and of course all the medicines that they have been able to support us with, we would not have been able to reach some of the most remote communities,” he said.

Bishop also said Australian and PNG businesses were already working together to build trade and investment ties.

“We think about 4,600 Australian businesses are operating here in PNG. And recently we opened a consulate-general in Lae to show how focused we are on developing trade and investment needs not only around Port Moresby but also into other provinces,” she said.

“Our development assistance programme to PNG is about AU$550 million every year and we are dedicated to ensuring that our development assistance drives economic growth, alleviates poverty and stronger communities across PNG.”.

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