My visit to Papua New Guinea this week was an opportunity to further strengthen Australia’s relationship with our close friend and neighbour.
In Port Moresby, I met with Prime Minister the Hon James Marape MP, Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Davis Steven MP, and a number of other ministers.
We discussed our shared priorities and interests, such as economic and development cooperation, infrastructure initiatives, labour mobility, gender equality, and Australia’s stepped up engagement with the Pacific.
I am particularly looking forward to seeing more Papua New Guineans working with Australian employers under the Pacific Labour Scheme.
Together with Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Bougainville Affairs, the Hon Sir Puka Temu MP, I visited Bougainville.
I met the Autonomous Bougainville Government including Acting President Raymond Masono, discussing Australia’s support for the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement and preparations for the referendum scheduled for October.
I also had the opportunity to meet with women peacebuilders from around Bougainville to hear about women’s participation in the peace process, as well as emerging female leaders at the Pacific Adventist University.
I was honoured to open a new library at the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance, which will house a collection of professional and personal works from the late Senator Russell Trood, to inspire future leaders.
Our countries enjoy a strong strategic partnership founded on a shared history and mutual values, extensive community links, and a commitment to a secure and prosperous Pacific region.