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Stepping-up in Papua New Guinea

Stepping-up in Papua New Guinea

During PNG Prime Minister Marape's Guest of Government visit to Australia in July 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison hosted him at Shark Park to share their love and passion for NRL. Photo: @ScottMorrisonMP Twitter

"We commit to work together to strengthen further the bilateral relationship and to contribute our best efforts to making the Pacific a region that is secure strategically, stable economically and sovereign politically."

Joint statement: Prime Minister's Marape and Morrison

The Papua New Guinea–Australia partnership is dynamic, multifaceted and comprehensive. Our partnership goes beyond mere words – we are physically connected through our shared border and joined through our rich cultures and history. The deepest commitment and longest lasting bond is through our people. This is exemplified by the volunteers, missionaries, business people, sports players, teachers and veterans who have made connections with the people, culture and land.

Australia and Papua New Guinea have committed to Annual Ministerial Meetings to further strengthen our bilateral relationship.

The Pacific Step-up initiative, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2018, is taking our cooperation to a new level.

Ministers attending the 27th PNG-Australia Ministerial Forum in Port Moresby. Photo: DFAT

We will do more in infrastructure, media, sport, and enhancing our people-to -people links, with cooperation between churches, labour mobility and between secondary schools in both countries.

More about Australia's Pacific engagement and The Office of the Pacific

Security partnerships

Papua New Guinea and Australia jointly tackle security challenges. The cooperation on security and strategic issues by our diplomats, militaries, police, customs and immigration officials is growing.

Visit by HMAS Choules to PNG and handover of the first Guardian Class patrol boat in 2019. Photo: DFAT

Our two defence forces have a long tradition of working together to protect our countries. Papua New Guinea is our largest Defence Cooperation Program partner.

Australia is scheduled to handover four Guardian-class patrol boats to PNG by 2023 to support maritime security in the Pacific region, under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.

The first of the new Guardian Class patrol boats, the Ted Diro, in Port Moresby. Photo: DFAT

People-to-people links

The Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Mobility Scheme provides Papua New Guineans the opportunity to help fill the labour shortages in rural and regional Australia.

Skybury (a dual Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program employer) and is testament to the confidence Australian employers can gain in PNG workers under both programs.

PNG 2019 Rugby League Match between the Brisbane Broncos Legends and PNG Kumuls. Photo: PNG RFL

Australia and PNG share a deep love of sports. Through the new PacificAus Sports program, we supported PNG's national rugby league and netball teams compete at major events. We will also continue to deliver sports for development outcomes through the Pacific Sports Partnerships (PSP) Program. Papua New Guinea and Australia are using the shared love of sport to improve health, build relationships and enhance institutional and people linkages.

Australia is increasing its education support to PNG. The Australia Pacific Training Coalition will increase vocational education and training and schools from PNG will be included in the expanded Australia-Pacific Schools Partnerships two-year pilot program.

Prime Minister Marape with Cherrybrook students. Photo: DFAT
FM Payne with Minister Yopyyopy at the launch of the Secondary Schools Partnership Program. Photo: DFAT

Economic development

The Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) will play an important role in addressing some of PNG's critical infrastructure needs in the transport, telecommunications and electricity sectors.

Telecommunications cable coming ashore in PNG. Photo: Vocus

Australia's economic growth programs are supporting Papua New Guinea to build a stronger, more diversified economy and reduce poverty. In addition to supporting infrastructure projects Australia played an important role in enabling the Government of Papua New Guinea secure USD1.1 billion in international finance from the Asian Development Bank and World Bank and the launch of its inaugural sovereign bond.

Agribusiness course participants. Photo: DFAT

Australia is also supporting the agriculture sector as it underpins food security, increases economic growth, reduces poverty and improves living standards.


Australia's flagship regional gender program, Pacific Women Shaping Development in PNG supports four outcomes: supporting increased leadership and influence, increasing economic opportunities for women, strengthening violence prevention and support services, and enhanced knowledge and learning. In 2018-19, Pacific Women implemented 30 projects in Papua New Guinea to contribute to the four outcomes.

Women in leadership visit to Australia. Photo: DFAT

More about Australia's development program to PNG and Pacific Regional Programs

Key documents

Last Updated: 10 October 2019
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