Boxing: Martin Beni put PNG on the map
1955: things are bad, time for a plan

Govt considers School of the Pacific

Dkerrpngschool I received a letter yesterday from the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Duncan Kerr [seen here visiting a school in PNG], stating that the School of the Pacific concept is to be considered by the Federal government.

Responding to my submission proposing how such an institution could operate to address critical issues and improve relationships in the region, Mr Kerr said that, under the government’s Pacific Partnerships policy, models like ASOPA will be taken into account.

“The Government is committed to implementing long-term partnerships for development and security with Pacific island countries,” Mr Kerr said. “These partnerships will give the Government scope to … consider the role and effectiveness … of previous models like the Australian School of Pacific Administration.”

Mr Kerr, 56, worked in PNG from 1983-85, where he was Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Papua New Guinea and Legal Counsel Ombudsman, advising on anti-corruption matters and issues related to administrative law.

The School of the Pacific concept has been publicly supported by a number of prominent individuals including PNG Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane, Assoc Prof Martin Hadlow of the University of Queensland, Phil Charley OAM and former PNG health educator, Bill Wilson.


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Martin Hadlow

Enjoyed the discussion in ‘The Mail’ between you and Paul Oates. Paul was ambivalent about a 'new ASOPA'. I feel more optimistic than that and, for a start, am not convinced that current PNG leaders might have any animosity towards what ASOPA represented in the past.

After spending many, many years setting-up capacity-building programs around the world, I do appreciate that in-country training is probably the most effective. And I am also very aware that societal change can be very difficult to achieve and manage. It also takes a long time. However, one must start somewhere and I'm optimistic about the 'School of the
Pacific' concept.

In passing, probably the best-ever Australian capacity-development program was the Colombo Plan. I can't think of how many leaders and senior managers from the region benefitted under the plan. I met many in my working life overseas and they still had fond memories of Australia and the study and training opportunities they enjoyed.

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