Aust increases financial support

Australia is increasing its financial support to Papua New Guinea in the 2018/2019 fiscal year.

A joint media statement by the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, and Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, Steven Ciobo, revealed that the funding covers an undersea telecommunications cables project to PNG to deliver a faster, cheaper and more reliable communications infrastructure for the receiving country.

The total Australian official development assistance to PNG will rise from A$546.3 million in 2017/2018, to A$572.2 million in the 2018/2019 financial year.

Ministers Bishop and Ciobo stated that the PNG is part of Australia’s support towards the region’s stability, security and economic opportunities, with $1.3 billion dollars in aid in 2018/2019 for the region; the largest ever contribution made.

The bilateral allocation is estimated at $519.5 million and includes commitments under the Joint Understanding, high-speed undersea telecommunications cable and over 400 million to support ongoing program in the likes of health, education and law and justice.

The budget also covers APEC with $130 million in aid; that’s around K319 million.

Much of it will be to strengthen PNG cyber security capabilities in the lead up to hosting the APEC Leadership Week and beyond.

Overall, Australia’s support to PNG in the 2018/2019 financial year includes improving the lives of women and girls across all areas of work, supporting effective governance, targeting maternal and child health and cultivating a culture of gender inclusiveness.

(Caution Bay PNG – Mapping the route for the new telecommunications cable)

Salome Vincent