Webster: PNG Government must continue Bougainville referendum work

The PNG Government must take the Bougainville Referendum seriously.

This is according to Dr Thomas Webster from the National Research Institute.

Project manager of Bougainville Research in the Governance Program at NRI, Dr Thomas Webster says that as the new government is put in place, work on the Bougainville Referendum must continue.

 Dr Webster says there needs to be effective and ongoing dialogue between all stakeholders involved as the last meeting was held in April of 2016.

Speaking at the 2017 PNG Update on PNG after the elections, Dr Webster says the outcome and success of the Bougainville Referendum 2020 will be based on the input of the PNG Government as the major player involved.

Concerns of whether the Panguna mine or the Bougainville Copper Limited should be included in the referendum but Dr Webster insists that this is entirely a decision for the PNG Government.

Meantime, June 19th 2019 is the deadline for the Bougainville Referendum with a grace period that lapses into the year 2020.

Dr Webster added that the case of Bougainville can be used as an example to PNG especially given the allowance for women’s reserve seats in the ABG House of Representatives.

Annette Kora