Treasurer Discusses Economic Investment With Aust.

Treasurer, Ian Ling-Stuckey met with his Australian counterpart Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 in Melbourne, to discuss economic investment with Australia.

Increased investment flows into PNG to help grow the economy, was the key item of discussion. 

Mr Ling-Stuckey said it was also an opportunity to relay the Marape-Basil Government’s gratitude for the strong support from Australia in dealing with the devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea.

“A key example of this is the planned investment by Telstra into PNG. 

“There was agreement that this major investment could serve as an example for other Australian companies making major future investments. 

“There is expertise in Australia that could be combined with the skills of (the) people of PNG to lift PNG’s economic growth rates and standards of living. 

“The focus of much of Australia’s investment had been in the mining sector.” 

The Treasurer added that there were other key areas such as telecommunications and agriculture and infrastructure with massive opportunities for win-win investments.

“We talked about the extraordinary impacts that the COVID-19 global pandemic had on our country’s budgets.” 

Australia entered the pandemic having a balanced budget and a strong fiscal outlook which allowed a significant response to support the economy as it confronted the pandemic. 

“So Australia had the benefit of good economic management that allowed the government to increase expenditure when tough times were forced upon the world by the pandemic.” 

Indeed, Ling-Stuckey said the expenditure helped stimulate the Australian economy more than expected and the deficit ended up being smaller. 

The Treasurer pointed out that in PNG, the legacy of the previous government meant there was no scope to lift expenditure. 

“The focus was ‘Protect the Budget, Protect the Economy’. This meant the key challenge was finding the finances to replace the drop in revenues caused by the pandemic. 

“This was achieved, including through generous support from Australia. We agreed that the economic impacts of COVID-19 had been devastating for the world economy, and looked forward to policies that would support the return to strong growth.

“I also discussed with Australian Treasurer Frydenberg the forthcoming elections that both countries face in 2022. 

“We had a good discussion of similarities and differences in the expectations of electors and how both countries share a vibrant democracy.  We both look forward to meeting again soon.”

Freddy Mou