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PNG government backflips on visa on arrival decision


THE Papua New Guinean government is to reverse its decision not to grant visas on arrival to Australian tourists.

“It is an impediment to attracting tourists in the country,” said Tourism Minister Tobias Kulang

“We will withdraw our position and reinstate visa on arrival for our Australian friends when they arrive at Jackson’s international terminal.”

Mr Kulang said Peter O’Neill had taken the original decision but “this twist of decision was made in the best interest for the tourism industry in the country”.

The number of tourists entering PNG dropped by 40% from 5,000 to 3,000 last year and Mr Kulang hopes that, by reinstating the decision, more tourists will be attracted to the country.

Meanwhile the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority has released statistics on the near 200,000 visitors who arrived in PNG last year.

Acting CEO Eric Uvovo said over one-third of visitors come for business, nearly one-third arrive for employment and one-quarter are tourists.

Australia has the biggest share of the market with nearly half of arrivals.

The Asian market takes up 13% followed by Germany with 9% and the United Kingdom with 6%.


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Michael Dom

Peter Kranz - alternatively, we don't have to be friends to agree.

I think that is what shakes people more than disagreeing with their friends, and we don't have to be friends with everyone - just respectful.

About the leadership tag - people choose their leaders, by hook or by crook. See what we have already and you won't need further explanations.

I prefer being Assistant Pig Keeper, Lounge Room Warrior and Prime Minister of Piggery.

My sense of worth 'does not touch your process'.


Hey people - lighten up. Michael is making his own way in this difficult world due to his talent. He doesn't need anyone else telling him how to do it. I am grateful for his poetry and writing and think the world is a better place because of it.

We can disagree but still be friends.

Michael Dom

Peter Warwick - I do not think my gratitude is misplaced, and neither is it grovelling worship.

Australian tax payers money is being put to good use giving me the benefits and access to one of their top universities. This should be acknowledged.

I don't think I could get this in PNG. This also should be acknowledged.

As for doing my part when I get back - the entire experiment program of study was executed in PNG. It was my fellow Papua New Guineans who helped collect and analyze the pigs shit and piss, and to manhandle 30 to 70kg animals weekly in order to weigh them.

We've been busy.

Peter Warwick

Michael, You do not owe Australia anything. Australia is happy to fund educational pursuits for people like you. There is no debt to Australia.

You do have a serious obligation to PNG, and that is to put your education to good effect in PNG.

Chris Overland

I have followed this issue with a certain amount of bemusement, mostly because I don't understand the basis of the current Australian government policy as it relates to issuing visas to Papua New Guineans.

In particular, I would be interested to know if Australia imposes more onerous requirements upon Papua New Guineans than, say, South Africans or Nigerians? If we do, then what is the explanation for this?

I can speculate that, in part at least, there are issues around diseases that are endemic in PNG (such as AIDS and Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis) plus concerns about the ability of people to support themselves.

Just in case you may think that the latter issue is peculiar to Australia, I can tell you that my wife and I, upon arrival at Heathrow, were required to produce evidence that we had both a return ticket and the funds to support ourselves during our stay in the UK. We were also cross examined on where and with whom we were staying. All this was done, of course, with exquisite British politeness.

Personally, I would like to see a very free interchange between Australia and PNG, much like the situation that exists with New Zealand. However, it would seem that there are more than a few policy issues to be sorted first.

Michael Dom

It's good that we are on opposite sides of this fence, Peter, because both sides need fixing.

I think there are important responsibilities that PNG has to ensure that citizens are able to acquire legal recognition and thereby passports with less difficulty than at present.

The possession of a passport is also related to having better statistical information about population demographics and etc.

Look at it this way - would you be happy with or even allow any old person to enter your house unless Rose vouched for him/her and you knew that there was a way to 'get the culprit' if they did something naughty and left?

Also, a responsible government would try to know more about its citizens and try to enable them to participate in the global environment by employment, business and leisure travel.

These need fixing on my side of the fence.

Throwing the blame at Australia's feet does not sit well with me for several reasons.

Among them: it divorces responsibility, it disempowers us to think and act on our own responsibility, it is a polarising and immature attitude to problem solving, and to me it's just plain dumbass.

Peter Kranz

Hey Michael - we seem to be on opposite sides of the fence (sori tru). It is great that you got a scholarship from Australia and I am sure are destined to be a future leader of PNG, which is a prospect which gives many of us hope for the future.

But in my view Australia's treatment of PNG has been patronising, parochial and colonial, the visa business being just one example. Look at the hoops we had to through to get my sis's visas to visit Rose. There are many others.

Michael Dom

Is PNG independent from Australia?

I look at it this way: I am on an Australian government scholarship to study in Adelaide.

They have paid for everything.

Completing the tasks of my study has been entirely up to me.

Graduating will be completing one of my career objectives.

Utilising the skills and knowledge gained will be my responsibility.

The benefits of my education, through my contribution, will flow on to the people of Papua New Guinea.

I was offered an opportunity to accept or decline the scholarship.

I accepted with the full knowledge of my benefits and responsibilities.

I did not trade my independence as a person.

Australia willingly contributed to my education knowing their benefits and responsibilities.

We made an agreements that was mutually beneficial.

I owe Australia my gratitude, not my life.

PNG owes a debt of Australia gratitude.

Say 'thank you' and get on with life.

Know your benefits and responsibilities.

That's independence.

Peter Kranz

Can a traveller from PNG get a visa on arrival in Australia?

Nope, nope, nope.

In fact is a tortuous and expensive process, involving medical and character checks, X-rays and letters of support, plus proof you can be financially independent when in Australia.

Wardley Barry

PNG backflip . . . like a child wanting to run away from home but came back because she misses the mother's dishes.

PNG will always be at the end of Australia's unfair treatment because we cannot be firm on such decisions.

Why is it so hard to be truly independent of Australia? While I understand the tourism industry has suffered a blow with the initial decision, give it a few more years and there might be some good returns.

If anything, denying Australians visa on arrival will earn us respect and fairness, one thing more important than money.

I think as a nation we must make Australia reciprocate the respect we give them and give us equal treatment. They have always made us look stupid - the asylum thing shoved down our throats is a classic example of them making a mockery out of our sovereignty.

This backflip is a disgrace. Our leaders need to learn something from Frank Bainamara. We cannot earn Australia's respect if we continue to "yes-master" them.

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