Wednesday, 19 September 2023
In a productive meeting held at the Sir Manasupe Haus in Port Moresby today, Prime Minister Hon. James Marape met Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Jon Philp, to discuss critical aspects of cooperation and development between both nations.
Prime Minister Marape expressed his deep appreciation for High Commissioner Philp’s unwavering commitment to working closely with Papua New Guinea’s officials in aligning Australian Government Development Assistance with the country’s development objectives.
A focal point of the discussion was Prime Minister Marape’s commitment to enhancing opportunities for Papua New Guineans who left school after grade 12 since 1995. This sizable demographic, comprising approximately 4 million individuals aged between 18 and 40 years, will be a priority area for development initiatives.
The Prime Minister emphasized the intention to establish the National Volunteer Service and explore participation in Australia’s Seasonal Labour Scheme to engage this dynamic population.
Moreover, Prime Minister Marape proposed an innovative approach, suggesting that participants in Australia’s seasonal worker programme should have access to training in fields that empower them to establish their own small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) upon returning home. This training could encompass trades, healthcare, and teaching, fostering skill development and self-reliance.
To ensure the success of this initiative, Prime Minister Marape assured that rigorous screening processes will be implemented to select candidates with commendable character and work ethics.
Additionally, Prime Minister Marape appealed to the Australian Government to allocate funding designated for Papua New Guinea’s law and order programme to support the revitalisation of the Bomana Centre of Excellence (Bomana Police College). The acquisition of qualified instructors from Australia to assist with training programme was also discussed.
In line with his commitment to fostering discipline and ethics within Papua New Guinea’s security forces, Prime Minister Marape revealed his administration’s intention to make it a prerequisite for recruits to abstain from alcohol consumption and betel nut chewing during training and working hours.
This initiative aims to cultivate a more disciplined and ethical workforce and expedite the disbursement of retirement entitlements.
High Commissioner Philp affirmed the Australian Government’s dedication to these initiatives, earmarking approximately AUD 35 million (K79 million) for the enhancement of the Centre of Excellence and other areas relevant to Papua New Guinea’s law and order efforts. The funding is sourced from the Australian Government Bilateral Security Treaty implementing funds.
The collaborative efforts between Prime Minister Marape and High Commissioner Philp underscore the enduring partnership between Australia and Papua New Guinea, with a shared vision for progress and development.