Prime Minister James Marape expressed his appreciation for the significant progress made in the long-standing relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The ceremony took place at the Australian Parliament House in Canberra, with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, joining Prime Minister Marape in signing the agreement.
The legally binding agreement, a monumental step in diplomatic ties dating back to 1975, facilitates Australia's commitment to providing A$200 million (K500 million) in security assistance to Papua New Guinea, addressing both internal and regional security concerns.
The signing ceremony followed a productive bilateral meeting between Prime Ministers Albanese and Marape, attended by key ministers and senior public servants from both nations. The agreement encompasses a comprehensive support package, which includes infrastructure development and training initiatives for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.
Additionally, it extends support to the judiciary, and correctional services, addresses gender-based violence, and entails the establishment of a police recruit and investigation training centre.
The overarching goal is to empower Papua New Guinea to build a larger and more capable police force, while also offering training assistance to other Pacific nations.
Expressing gratitude for the support, Prime Minister Marape highlighted the multifaceted impact the A$200 million package would have on enhancing security in the region.
"This is a significant milestone in relationships between our two countries since 1975 when Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia,” he said.
Acknowledging the broader security challenges facing Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Marape emphasised the alignment of the agreement with the nation's strategic priorities. He remarked, "Internal security, as we all know, is the number one threat facing our country. The A$200 million Australian support will complement our government programmes."
As Papua New Guinea gears up to celebrate 50 years of independence in 2025, Prime Minister Marape highlighted the timeliness of this assistance, stressing its role in reinforcing national security measures. Additionally, he underscored the historical connection between the Australia Labor Party and the Papua New Guinea Pangu Pati, noting their shared governance experience dating back to 1975.
“The signing of this Bilateral Security Agreement not only marks a significant milestone in diplomatic relations but also signifies a renewed commitment to fostering stability and growth in Papua New Guinea's economy,” Prime Minister Marape said.
“I am optimistic that the agreement will contribute substantially to Papua New Guinea’s progress as we approach our 50th anniversary in 2025.”