Talks herald new age of Australia-PNG friendship
An agreement has been struck to change the relationship between the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Plans will be made to change the balance from one purely based on the donation and receiving of aid, to a two-way street between Pacific neighbours.
Foreign Ministers from both sides of the Torres Strait have met for the 22nd Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum, with Julie Bishop stating that a new age for PNG means the relationship must be redefined.
“We are the largest donor to PNG and we want to ensure the funding we provide is able to go to developing a sustainable economy,” she said.
“We decided it is time to look afresh at the development assistance.
“We want to move away from direct service delivery, like medicines and school books.
“We spoke of the need for there to be a strong law and order focus because that also affects investment confidence and economic growth in a number of areas,” the Australian Foreign Minister said.
Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato says he wants to maintain the important and long-running friendship.
“Moving forward, the new focus is on a partnership which has matured and how we can partner together to benefit mutually from the economic growth taking place in Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“And, of course, taking into account that Australia remains Papua New Guinea's oldest and best friend.”