PNG: Import less consumables & create jobs
PNG’s Covid control runs into trouble

Working to build in remote Western Province

Materials for remote Western Province
One of five container loads of materials for schools and health centres in remote areas of Western Province - more is on the way but much more is needed


DARU - The shipping containers shown here are all loaded and ready for shipment to some of the most remote communities in Western Province.

They include materials for the Banisato village community health post.

The Baniso tribe is small, and comprises just one village of less than 200 people in the foothills of Mt Bosavi.

The village is remote and shares a common border with Hela, Western and Southern Highlands provinces.

It takes members of this isolated community two days of walking to reach the nearest health centre.

It’s two days to Mougulu in Western, two days to Muruma in Southern Highlands or two days to Walagu in Hela.

The Baniso people have become one of the forgotten communities.

There are so many isolated communities like this one throughout Western Province.

They’re in the queue, hoping for their share of the government services.

Unfortunately, as a government we have our own challenges that incapacitate us and prevent us reaching out.

We have seen the need, we have felt the pain and we have not forgotten, but we can only do as much with whatever is available and within our power to dispose.

For our district government team, the goal has not been about reaching populated communities for our own political mileage but about genuinely reaching the far flung communities with durable health infrastructure that will withstand the test of time.

We want to see projects that leave a lasting impression and as footprints of our term in office.

Most importantly we want to help restore basic services to our most remote communities who have been walking long distances especially for basic health and education.

So, for now, the five shipping containers are all health related prefabricated materials ready to be shipped then airfreighted to various project sites.

The material will be used to construct three permanent community health posts and three health centres for some of our remote communities as well as two dormitories for Rumginae School of Nursing.

Next in the pipeline, still being manufactured, are two dormitories for Kiunga Teachers College, 20 double classrooms for various community and primary schools, three more community health posts and three more health centres.


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Philip Fitzpatrick

It's nice to hear positive reports from PNG, particularly from my old stamping ground in Western. I'm old enough to remember when those people up near Mount Bosavi were first contacted.

What is also encouraging is to hear that a provincial government is actively involved in creating infrastructure to help people.

One of the things that has happened in Australia during the Covid-19 pandemic is the assertion and lead that the states have taken to deal with the crisis. They are leading the federal government which is trailing in their wake.

A similar thing is happening with regards to the climate crisis. While the federal government is arguing with itself about what to do the states have forged ahead and implemented many of the changes that need to be made. This includes conservative states with the same political persuasions as the federal government.

Private enterprise is also ignoring the federal government and having recognised reality are making radical changes in the way they do business, particularly as it relates to fossil fuel use.

The federal government in Australia is now a liability that is dragging on progress in Australia.

This might be a lesson for PNG too. Maybe its time to tell the central government to butt out of provincial matters and just hand over the cash so they can get on with job.

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