Bougainville

2019 Bougainville audience study

An online survey was launched on February 24th and publicized through social media to get a wider reach of Bougainvilleans living outside the region.

The online survey is focused on understanding how people living outside the region are getting information about ABG and the upcoming referendum.

ABG Director of Media and Communications, Adriana Schmidt, said good awareness is key to keeping people informed and confident about what is happening to decide Bougainville’s future political status.

Public servants dismissed over alleged fraud

The last three months has seen the dismissal of several members of the Bougainville Public Service after an audit of the payroll system found members of the ABG’s Department of Personnel Management had been allegedly defrauding the public purse in excess of K360,000.

Furthermore, other officials from the ABG Department of Community Government were implicated in another scandal where K2 million of the Disaster Trust Fund account was allegedly misappropriated, resulted in the sacking of the Secretary of the department.

Polio campaign launched in ARoB

Secretary of the Health Department in the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Clement Totavun, said the polio campaign will target an estimated 116,000 children in Bougainville, starting from the age of 15 down to newborn babies.

He said the campaign has started already in parts of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, particularly in South Bougainville.

“The intensive campaign will run for about two weeks until the 21st of October,” Totavun stated.

“180 health workers will be engaged in about 80 polio clinic sites set up across the Island.”

B’ville youth forum underway

The event started yesterday (August 18th) and will end on the 24th.

It coincides with the annual International Youth Day which falls on the 19th of August. 

It will feature various issues relating to the current peace building efforts and the Referendum Process.

The Forum with the theme “Safe space for youth and opportunities for participation in decision-making within peace building and the referendum process” is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Second autonomy review underway

ABG Chief Secretary, Joseph Nobetau, said the review was the second since the formation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, and would look at autonomy implementation from both sides of the government.

“The Review Team have provided their work plans to myself and National Government Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari, and will soon travel to Bougainville to undertake consultations,” Nobetau said.

“We look forward to a review with practical outcomes that set out the way forward for autonomy and the referendum.

Grants for B’ville communities

The grants will fund water and sanitation, road, child counselling and farming projects based in Central and South Bougainville.

Grants up to K100,000 each were signed on Friday in Arawa and given to nine communities based in Central and South Bougainville, including Bana, Buin, Kieta, Siwai, Panguna and Torokina.

The projects are supported through Bougainville Community Grants scheme, a partnership between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Australia.  

Referendum: Criteria for non-B’ville residents

They have agreed on the criteria for non-Bougainville residents to take part in the Referendum.  

In the recent JSB meeting held in Arawa, both the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, under section 55, 1 of the Organic Law on Peace Building in Bougainville, agreed on two criteria to determine the links with Bougainville, that a non-resident Bougainvillean must have in order to vote at the Referendum.

The first criteria is that; the person is a Bougainvillean, as defined in section 7, 1 of the Bougainville Constitution.

Arawa Hospital officially opens

From 2015 to 2018, the Australian Government provided K33.8 million for the upgrade of the then Arawa Health Centre to a district hospital. Under the partnership arrangement, the Autonomous Bougainville Government purchased equipment for the hospital at a value of K4 million.

The hospital was officially opened on Friday, June 29th, by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, John Momis, and Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Bruce Davis.

Bougainville Copper on course to renew Panguna licence

The vast Panguna copper and gold mine once generated nearly half of PNG's annual export revenue.

BCL ran Panguna until the outbreak of civil war in 1989 in which grievances caused by the mine were central to the 10 year conflict that cost over 20,000 lives.

It is one of two companies that have been vying to re-open Panguna and has told the market it will continue to pursue the rights of its shareholders.

BCL company secretary Mark Hitchcock said the company was due back in court next month as it was seeking a judicial review over the non-renewal of the licence.

Solomons' police watching border with Bougainville

The police patrol boat, Lata, is currently in the Shortland Islands, which are very close to the south of Bougainville main island.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Gabriel Manelusi, said that the Lata is carrying specialist staff who have teamed up with local police to investigate alleged criminal activities by people crossing the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea border.

He said the officers wanted to ensure the Shortlands' communities are not undermined by any foreign nationals acting illegally.