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Visit underlines Australia’s commitment to PNG

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles is visiting Papua New Guinea this week, underlining Australia’s commitment to a stronger, multi-faceted relationship with our nearest neighbour. 

Mr Marles will meet senior ministers and members of PNG’s business community, following up the visit by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd earlier this month and the recent Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum in Canberra.   

“Papua New Guinea is one of our most important and diverse relationships and it is crucial that we maintain the momentum generated by Mr Rudd’s visit and by last week’s Ministerial Forum,” Mr Marles said.

“Ministers agreed at the Forum to advance negotiations on an economic cooperation treaty, enhance policing cooperation, support for the 2012 PNG election and assistance to manage expected revenues from the LNG Project.

“These will be our priorities over the coming months.”

Mr Marles will also meet PNG representatives of AFL and Rugby League to further partnerships with Australia aimed at developing these games.

“These partnerships are not only essential to reinforcing our strong people-to-people links. They are also about community development at the grassroots level, which is where Australian sporting assistance is targeted.”

Mr Marles will travel to the Eastern Highlands Province to see how recent reforms to the Australian aid program are improving vital service delivery in health, education and law and justice.

“Australia is helping PNG enhance access women and children have to basic services,” Mr Marles said.

“I will visit a family planning centre, school and police station to see how this is being done.”

Source: Richard Marles’ Office, 18 October 2011


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