Aust envoy’s first trip to Highlands region

Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp recently visited the Highlands region for the first time, travelling to Western Highlands, Enga and Jiwaka.

The high commission says this early provincial engagement highlights the importance Australia places on engaging with Papua New Guineans across PNG.

During his travel, High Commissioner Philp was able to see first-hand how Provincial Health Authorities are benefiting from Australian funding to assist with Papua New Guinea’s COVID-19 response. He was also able to observe the measures put in place to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever in the Highlands.

Recognising the potentially serious impact of African Swine Fever, the Australian government, through the Pacific Horticultural Agricultural and Market Access Plus (PHAMA+) program, is providing technical and risk communications support toward the African Swine Fever outbreak response in the Highlands, and supporting preparedness and prevention efforts for the rest of the country. 

In Western Highlands, High Commissioner Philp had the honour to meet Governor Paias Wingti for the first time. He also had the opportunity to discuss with impressive PNG-Australia Alumni Association members the changes they have brought to their communities after participating in education programs supported by Australia.

The High Commissioner spent time with Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, and visited the soon to open K10 million upgrade to Enga Teachers College, funded by the PNG-Australia Partnership. This project is already supporting a national boost in primary school teachers and quality of teacher training both nationally and in Enga.

High Commissioner Philp also learnt about Engan culture with a visit to Take Anda Museum and Cultural Centre.

Jiwaka Governor, Dr William Tongamp, showed High Commissioner Philp around his province, including a tour of the Kudjip hospital, which Australia has supported through three Incentive Fund grants since 2006, totalling PGK23.9 million.

During his travels, the High Commissioner also met with Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, and Member for Wabag Open, Dr Lino Tom, Members for Wapenamanda Open, as well as senior representatives of the Provincial Police and Provincial Administrations.

Philp said: “It is great to see the leadership being shown at the provincial and district levels both in response to African Swine Fever and COVID-19.

“My first trip to the Highlands, and the other travel I have undertaken in my short time in Papua New Guinea, has really highlighted the diversity of this beautiful country. I look forward to seeing even more of it.”     

(Australian High Commissioner, Jon Philp, with Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas at the site of the proposed Take Anda Amphitheatre)

Press release