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Joint Declaration of Principles Guiding Relations Between Australia and Papua New Guinea

Joint Declaration of Principles Guiding Relations Between Australia and Papua New Guinea

1987, as amended by exchange of letters 1992

Papua New Guinea Coat of Arms
Australian Coat of Arms

Australia and Papua New Guinea are immediate neighbours, with close traditional and historic ties between their peoples which both countries are determined to maintain and strengthen.

Australia and Papua New Guinea have many common interests which both Governments seek to advance with full regard for one another's distinct national characteristics.

Both Governments respect and seek to build on existing bilateral, regional and other mutually beneficial arrangements in accordance with their shared commitment to independent and constructive neighbourly co-operation and to co-operation between developing and developed countries.

Both Governments uphold the United Nations Charter.

Both Governments are strongly committed to regional co-operation in the South Pacific and to co-operation with other neighbours.

Both Governments are committed to promoting a stable regional environment in which the aspirations of the peoples of the region for security, peace, equity and development can best be realised.


(1) The Governments and peoples of Papua New Guinea and Australia reaffirm their commitment to the maintenance and strengthening of close and friendly relations between their two countries.

(2) The various elements which make up the over-all relationship between the two countries should be viewed together, and each of the elements should be conducted with due regard for the relationship as a whole.

(3) Relations between Papua New Guinea and Australia will be conducted in accordance with the principles of mutual respect for one another's independence, sovereignty and equality.

(4) Both Governments are committed to peaceful settlement of international disputes and to
non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

(5) Both Governments seek to avoid, reduce, contain and, where possible, to remove the causes of, international tensions.

(6) Citizens of either country will be accorded fair and just treatment in the other in accordance with law.

(7) The maintenance and strengthening of close and friendly relations between the two countries is an integral part of both Governments' independent foreign policies.

(8) Co-operation and exchanges between the two countries will be mutually beneficial and based on full participation by both countries, with due regard to the capacity, resources and development needs of both countries, and on mutual respect.

(9) Development co-operation will comprise a wide-ranging combination of agreed measures designed to contribute to development and self-reliance, including capacity building, in Papua New Guinea.


(10) Promotion of Understanding

Both Governments will seek to promote knowledge and understanding of the other country.

(11) Diplomatic Co-operation and Consular Representation

The two Governments will seek to co-operate in pursuing shared national, regional and global interests through diplomacy and will assist one another in consular representation as far as practicable.

(12) Security Co-operation

The two Governments reaffirm their commitments made in the Agreed Statement on Security Co-operation between Australia and Papua New Guinea, signed in Canberra on 2 September 1991.

(13) Defence

(a) Recognising that each Government has primary responsibility for its own security, the two Governments undertake to continue to maintain and develop their respective defence capabilities.

(b) Conscious of their unique historical links and shared strategic interests, the two Governments will continue to engage in defence co-operation through consultation and in such areas as agreed exchanges, consultancies, combined projects, military training and combined exercises as would be decided by them from time to time.

(c) The two Governments reaffirm the existing agreement and arrangements between the two countries covering the status of Service personnel from either country present in the other, the provision of supply support and consultations on politically sensitive situations in which Australian loan personnel might be involved.

(d) The two Governments will consult, at the request of either, about matters affecting their common security interests. In the event of external armed attack threatening the national sovereignty of either country, such consultation would be conducted for the purpose of each Government deciding what measures should be taken, jointly or separately, in relation to that attack.

(14) Trade, Investment and Private Sector Co-operation

(a) Both Governments desire to strengthen trade, investment and private sector co-operation between the two countries.

(b) The two Governments recognise their commitments under the agreement covering trade and commercial relations between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

(c) Trade between the two countries will be on at least most-favoured nation terms and as free of both tariff and other restrictive regulations of commerce as may be consistent with both countries' domestic requirements and international commitments.

(d) The two Governments will consult on ways in which Australian investment can contribute to the development of Papua New Guinea. The two Governments will accord to Papua New Guinea and Australian companies and individuals resident in either country investment treatment no less favourable than that accorded to those of any third country.

(e) The two Governments will encourage co-operation between the private sectors of their two countries in trade, investment and related areas.

(f) The two Governments recognise their commitments under the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

(15) Financial, Transport and Other Services

The two Governments will, in accordance with the laws and policies of both countries and having regard to Papua New Guinea's development needs, co-operate to encourage the efficient supply of financial, transport and other services between the two countries.

(16) Development Assistance

Development assistance will be provided as part of an agreed program of co-operation which contributes to development and self-reliance in Papua New Guinea, allows for forward planning and implementation in accordance with policies and priorities set by the Papua New Guinea Government, and takes due account of both Governments' policies on development co-operation.

(17) Communication and Travel

The two Governments will seek to promote and facilitate communications and travel, including tourism, between the two countries, with due regard for one another's national interests and policies.

(18) Border Administration

The two Governments will reinforce their co-operation under the Torres Strait Treaty in the administration and development of their common border area, with due regard for the rights and interests of the traditional inhabitants and conservation of the natural environment.

(19) Legal Co-operation

The two Governments will co-operate, in accordance with their international legal obligations 'and respective laws, in the area of law enforcement and seek to increase co-operation in other areas of the law, including taxation law, business law and family law.

(20) Crime, Terrorism and Smuggling

The two Governments will co-operate, in accordance with their respective laws and international obligations, to prevent, detect and prosecute crime, terrorism and smuggling, including, especially, illegal drug trafficking.

(21) Exchanges

(a) The two Governments will promote educational, scientific, cultural, sporting and other exchanges between individuals, groups and public office-holders with common interests.

(b) The two Governments will facilitate exchanges which contribute to the development of human resources, research capacity and technology in the public and private sectors.

(22) Consultations

(a) The two Governments will establish a Ministerial forum to meet regularly, under arrangements co-ordinated by the two Ministers responsible for foreign affairs, alternately in either country.

(b) The two Governments will endeavour to consult promptly and at an appropriately high level of representation at the request of either.

(c) The two Governments will hold such other consultations as may be agreed.


(23) Resolution of Disputes

Disputes between the two Governments will be settled peacefully through consultation, negotiation, or such other means as may be agreed and are consistent with the United Nations Charter.

(24) Other Arrangements

(a) Commitments made under existing arrangements between the two countries will be respected, and developed in accordance with this Joint Declaration,

(b) The two Governments will endeavour to interpret and implement agreements and arrangements between them in the spirit of the principles and commitments contained in this Joint Declaration, without prejudice to commitments entered into under existing agreements between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

(c) The two Governments may give effect to this Joint Declaration in such further agreements and arrangements as may be agreed.

(25) Review

The two Governments will review the operation of this Joint Declaration at the request
of either party.

Signed at Canberra the ninth day of December 1987.



Prime Minister of Australia



Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

Note: An exchange of letters between the Prime Ministers of Australia and Papua New Guinea dated 1 June 1993 and 1 November 1993 respectively resulted in the changes to the Joint Declaration which are illustrated in italicised text.

Last Updated: 29 January 2013
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