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Development assistance in Papua New Guinea

Flag of Papua New Guinea

Australia’s development partnership with Papua New Guinea

2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
$491.1 million
2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$596.0 million
2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$618.9 million

A stable, prosperous, peaceful and resilient PNG is critical to Australia's interests. We are PNG's largest development partner; its main partner on economic and security issues; and its most active supporter in helping it respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Australia is working in partnership with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to implement the PNG-Australia Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership and address COVID-19.

Management of COVID-19 and the global shutdown is aggravating existing challenges in PNG, including debt, putting strain on already fragile health systems, and impacting exports and revenues.

Australia is using all of its capabilities to work with PNG at this critical time.

PNG COVID-19 Development Response Plan

The PNG COVID-19 Development Response Plan (CRP) sets out how Australia is helping PNG to respond to and recover from COVID-19 shocks over the next two years. Our support is framed around three pillars: health security; stability; and economic recovery, in line with Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response.

Pillar 1 – health security

To support health security in PNG, Australia’s health programs have been adjusted to ensure they include COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation measures. Funding for health security has been increased and our support will continue to be directed to strengthening local systems. We will support essential services, since disrupted services during COVID 19 lead to increased mortality and morbidities. Wider impacts have also been felt, such as disruption to sexual and reproductive health and rights services which lead to women and girls dropping out of work and education.

Australia has already provided extensive support for COVID-19 preparation and response, which has included deployment of Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) to provide on the ground support and help strengthen PNG government systems; support for COVID-19 testing, provision of PPE and information campaigns, and support to help PNG’s provinces implement their COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.

On 17 March 2021, in response to a request from PNG, Prime Minister Morrison announced a package of assistance to help PNG respond to a spike in COVID-19 cases. This package will include 8,000 vaccine doses for frontline health workers, a deployment of AUSMAT health specialists to assist with health emergency management and vaccine preparations and other targeted support to bolster the public health response, enhance clinical care capacity, support testing and surveillance and mitigate the spread. Australia will also make a formal request to AstraZeneca and European Authorities to access one million doses of Australia’s contracted vaccine supplies, to gift to PNG.

More information on Australia’s support for health security in PNG.

Pillar 2 – stability

Australia and Papua New Guinea share an interest in a secure, stable and peaceful region. We will soon commence negotiations on a Bilateral Security Treaty, a key outcome of the Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership, intended to better represent the breadth of our security cooperation.

The Defence Cooperation Program in PNG is providing the Australian Defence Force's largest international response to COVID-19, supporting the PNGDF across operations, infrastructure, equipment and border security. The Australian Federal Police (AFP), through the Policing Partnership, will continue to support RPNGC to build its capabilities and support its reform ambitions.We will continue to promote stability and social cohesion by supporting the Bougainville Peace Agreement, following the 2019 referendum and 2020 election.

Our increased focus on gender and justice and emphasis on strengthening protection and services for survivors of family and sexual violence help to build an equitable, cohesive and stable society. Our work in education, social protection, disability, food security, health, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian assistance all promote a more stable and resilient PNG.

More information on Australia’s support for stability in PNG.

Pillar 3 – economic recovery

Australia’s economic engagement with PNG is being strengthened to assist PNG’s COVID−19 response and recovery. The COVID-19 economic shock comes on top of existing fiscal and economic challenges. 

Australia has given comprehensive support to PNG. We have agreed to refinance an existing USD300 million loan (provided in late 2019), and provide a further USD100 million loan, including to assist PNG to continue the delivery of core government services, such as healthcare and education.

We will enhance support to the informal sector, which provides most of PNG's employment. We will continue programs to improve the business enabling environment. We will continue to work through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) to draw in financing for strategic and large-scale quality infrastructure projects, particularly in electrification, which will help economic recovery and job creation.

More information on Australia’s support for economic recovery in PNG.

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