Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Anne Ruston, said a mutual love for sport strengthens our two nations’ bilateral ties.
“The athletes showcased the best of what sport has to offer,” Minister Ruston said.
“Australia and PNG may be fierce opponents on the field, but we are the best of mates off it.”
Minister Ruston said the Port Moresby matches marked the first time a women’s team competed alongside their male counterparts as the Australian PM XIII Women’s side.
“The opportunity for male and female players from both countries to stand side by side carries an important message about gender equality, respect and empowering women to contribute across all aspects of society,” she said.
Through Australia’s sport for development programs, Australia supports a range of activities involving rugby league, netball and cricket that focus on social cohesion, disability inclusion and health outcomes in PNG.
Minister Ruston represented the Australian Government at the matches, joining PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in attendance.
(Assistant Minister Anne Ruston, PM O’Neill and Chairman of the PNGRFL, Sandis Tsaka, go onto the pitch for national anthems)