“We want to be a strong partner with our church because our priorities are the same. Together we will continue to invest money and time in our core policy areas of healthcare and education.
“These areas underpin the social structure of our nation and we must continue to strengthen our communities.”
O’Neill said for many decades, the Government did not do much in rural and remote areas, and it was the church that stepped in to help the people.
“I know this was the case in my own district in Pangia when I was growing up, there was no Government support and this continued many years after Independence.
“Over the past five years the Government has been strengthening our work with the churches in these areas and this is delivering benefits to our people.”
He thanked the Catholic Church, and other churches for the partnerships they have built with the government as it gets stronger every day.