O’Neill’s back flip with pike: PNG won't expel Australian staff
20 September 2015
PRIME minister Peter O’Neill has softened his tough talk of expelling Australian consultants and advisers from Papua New Guinea by the end of the year.
Mr O'Neill announced the intention in parliament two months ago saying he would turf out foreign advisers, raising concerns they were spying on his government and their presence was making local public servants lazy.
He now says he does not want consultants and middlemen eating up aid budget allocations but prefers a change to contract officers who can be accountable to his government.
"Nobody is being thrown out on the street," Mr O'Neill told AAP in Port Moresby.
"We know they have families. We are not that silly to displace families overnight."
Mr O'Neill wants to ensure people assigned to PNG show loyalty to the government and to service.
"I don't think that's too much to ask for," he said.
Australia has 34 public servants on secondment to the PNG government and there are more than 100 technical advisers in the country.
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