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Development assistance in Papua New Guinea

Flag of Papua New Guinea

Stability in Papua New Guinea

We are designing a new Papua New Guinea Development Partnership Plan (DPP) to set out development priorities for 2024-2029 in line with the International Development Policy. Website information about Australia’s development partnership with PNG will be updated following the publication of the DPP.

Australia and Papua New Guinea share an interest in a secure, stable and peaceful region. Australia has supported PNG's security, policing and law and justice sectors since the 1980s, with longstanding partnerships between our defence and police forces, government agencies, and through our development program.

On 7 December 2023, Prime Ministers Anthony Albanese and James Marape signed the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Papua New Guinea on a Framework for Closer Security Relations (the Australia—PNG Bilateral Security Agreement). The Agreement is a legally-binding framework for deepening security cooperation between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

It elevates, broadens and modernises our longstanding security relationship and will help Australia and Papua New Guinea work together to contribute to our region's security.

Australia will continue to promote stability and social cohesion by supporting the Bougainville Peace Agreement, and the Governments of PNG and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in post-referendum consultations.

In 2023, we committed $200 million over four years as part of our Bilateral Security Agreement to support PNG's internal security priorities including building PNG's policing, and law and justice capabilities, as well as investing in non-traditional security sectors including health security, combatting GBV, and building climate resilience. Our combined investments in law, justice and policing will increase from $60 million per year (ODA) to $110 million per year (ODA and non-ODA) by 2026-‑27.

Australia and PNG's longstanding Defence Cooperation Program is the largest for both countries, and is deeply embedded into PNG's own structures. The core features of this engagement include education, training and exercises with PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) partners, military capability cooperation, gifting of defence assets and infrastructure for PNGDF military bases.

Australia is PNG's largest policing partner. Through the PNG-Australia Policing Partnership (PNG-APP), the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) work together to combat crime and corruption and to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and sorcery-accusations related violence. This includes a focus on engaging men to promote gender equality. The Bilateral Security Agreement will further enhance cooperation on policing infrastructure, capability, leadership, and training.

We are increasing funding for gender work and have pivoted existing gender and law and justice programs to provide more protection and services for survivors of Family and Sexual Violence (FSV). We are working to build stability through community-based inclusive development and disability awareness, and helping the Government to develop policy in this area.

Australia played a key role in supporting PNG's COVID-19 Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan, as education provides stability for children. Support included the provision of hand washing stations, hygiene education and products, learning materials and teacher training. We continue our work in improving early grade literacy and numeracy and support for secondary schools, with an emphasis on girls' access. Our goal is for Papua New Guineans to gain the skills and knowledge to take advantage of employment and leadership opportunities.

Social protection programs play a critical role during crises. We piloted a cash-for-work scheme with local government and the private sector in Lae to help address urban unemployment and stimulate local trade and investment. This pilot will inform a new cash transfer program to tackle malnutrition and stunting.

We have repositioned our program targeting coastal villages on the border with the Torres Strait to focus on COVID-19 prevention and response, and address food insecurity and health issues that could drive border crossings into Australia.

Given PNG's vulnerability to natural disasters we are building flexibility into our programming so we can step up our humanitarian assistance to PNG if required. The ADF is exploring bilateral mechanisms and working with likeminded partners to deepen cooperation in this area.

Related links

Defence Cooperation Program

Australia and PNG recognise the shared security challenges we face as close neighbours and maritime nations. Defence’s engagement in PNG focuses on strengthening and advancing our longstanding and broad Defence Cooperation Program (DCP). Through the DCP, Australia continues to build the breadth and depth of our enduring Defence partnership.

The DCP with PNG is also our largest globally and is emblematic of the long-standing and positive relationship that exists between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF). The DCP supports the PNGDF across operations, infrastructure and equipment and assisted with PNG’s response to COVID-19.

Other engagement activities include building sustainable capability, expanding our maritime security partnership and continuing our joint work on the Lombrum Naval Base.

Related links

PNG - Australia Policing Partnership

The PNG-APP is an Australian Federal Police development program in partnership with the RPNGC. The program continues to build on historical success through ongoing support to the RPNGC leadership, working with future leaders – particularly women – and encouraging merit-based recruitment, promotion, and acknowledgement of results. This has included supporting RPNGC’s coordinating role in the National Pandemic Response.

Related links

AFP across the world

Justice Services Stability for Development (JSS4D)

The JSS4D program is supporting PNG’s law and justice sector to deliver more effective and inclusive justice services in PNG. The program is working at the national level to support legislative reform, sector leadership and coordination; whilst helping to strengthen critical services such as: crime prevention; prosecutions; policing and correctional services.  A key focus of the program is on supporting local justice mechanisms including village courts and helping to address local safety and security concerns such as family and sexual violence in provinces across PNG. JSS4D builds on a decade of Australian support to PNG's law and justice sector.

Phase 1 of the JSS4D program ran from January 2016 to December 2020 and Phase 2 commenced in January 2021 and will run until December 2023.

Phase 2 aims to achieve three outcomes by the end of the program:

  1. Law and justice agencies develop and implement inclusive legal and policy initiatives and services, including for women and children.
  2. Provinces coordinate local delivery of inclusive and accessible justice services outlined in Law and Justice Plans, including for women and children.
  3. Demonstrated improvements in accessibility and enforcement in priority areas of FSV (for women and children), anti-corruption, and juvenile justice.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Papua New Guinea Justice Services and Stability for Development Program (JSS4D): Phase 2 Mid-term review 2023 Evaluation report

Papua New Guinea Women Lead (PNGWL)

The PNG Women Lead (PNGWL) program is Australia's bilateral investment (2023 to 2028, AUD $55 million) supporting gender equality in Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNGWL builds on the success of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative (2012 to 2022) and complements the regional initiative, Pacific Women Lead.

The goal of PNGWL is that PNG women and girls, in all their diversity, are safe and equitably share in resources, opportunities, and decision-making with men and boys.

PNGWL contributes to Australia's foreign policy gender equality priorities in the Pacific by:

  • Enhancing women's voice in decision-making, leadership and peace building.
  • Promoting women's economic empowerment.
  • Ending violence against women and girls.

PNGWL is designed to align with PNG's national gender equality policy priorities, enhance in-country ownership and leadership, and promote collaboration across the public, private, and civil society sectors to drive long-term sustainable change in gender equality.

The PNGWL program uses a gender-transformative approach to address the root causes of gender inequalities. It ensures transparency and accountability in its delivery and is based on evidence of what is effective in advancing gender equality within PNG.

The PNGWL has four end-of-program outcomes:

  1. Selected partners better represent women's voice and interests in targeted areas, including women with disabilities.
  2. Increased awareness and practice of respectful and safe ways of relating between men and women in target areas.
  3. Women have improved access to coordinated GBV case management in target areas, including women with disabilities.
  4. Selected partners expand women's financial decision-making powers and employment opportunities, including women with disabilities
Name of document Year published Type
Papua New Guinea Women Lead Investment Design Document 2023 Design document

Gender Equality/Gender Based Violence

The Gender Equality/Gender Based Violence investment supports key Government of PNG agencies development partners and other stakeholders to advance gender equality in PNG and work to eliminate gender-based violence.

We are increasing funding for gender work and have pivoted existing gender and law and justice programs to provide more protection and services for survivors of family and sexual violence (FSV). We will further bolster crisis support services for FSV survivors, expand safe transport for women and girls and improve community-level messaging on FSV, including information on support services.

Supporting Elections in PNG

Australia is working with the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) to strengthen electoral systems in PNG and improve the integrity of elections. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is also partnering with the PNGEC through this investment to share its electoral expertise in a range of areas and deliver electoral training programs for Papua New Guinean officials.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Evaluation of Australia's electoral assistance to PNG 2015-17 and DFAT management response 2018 Evaluation report and management response
Evaluation of Supporting Elections in Papua New Guinea (SEP) Program 2024 Evaluation report and management response

Papua New Guinea Building Community Engagement in Papua New Guinea (BCEP)

The Building Community Engagement in PNG Program (BCEP, $87.5m from 2022‒2026) promotes constructive engagement between civil society and the PNG Government as part of Pillar 1 of the CSEP – Strong Democracies for a Stable Future. The goal of the BCEP is to strengthen citizen-government engagement for improved service delivery and provision of public goods. It has a particular emphasis on promoting gender equality and inclusive social norms.

The BCEP consists of five components:

  1. Coalitions for Change

This component supports partners and organisations who advocate for policy reforms that aim to strengthen institutions and contribute to inclusive development. This includes policy makers and reform champions from government, civil society, the academic community and the private sector in pursuing technically sound and politically possible reforms. Key partners supported under this component include The Voice Inc and the National Research Institute.

  1. The Media Development Initiative

The Media Development Initiative (MDI) is implemented by ABC International Development (ABCID). ABCID works with Papua New Guinea media organisations on capacity building, institutional strengthening, quality content development and research. MDI helps the PNG media to promote diverse citizen voices and support accountability through the provision of quality information and the facilitation of citizen-government dialogue on key public issues.

  1. The Church Partnerships Program

The Church Partnerships Program (CPP) supports churches to better coordinate and implement their development programs as well as to conduct policy influencing in areas such as health and education, where the churches provide roughly half of the services available in PNG. The CPP brings together PNG’s seven “mainline” churches representing 70% of the population, with their Australian-based, faith-based NGO counterpart organisations.

  1. Social Accountability

Social accountability initiatives provide citizens, particularly at the community level, with avenues to engage with government on service delivery. Under this component grants are provided to CSOs and NGOs to implement social accountability initiatives in a range of contexts.

  1. PNG Government Partnerships

This component recognizes that relevant PNG Government agencies require support to contribute and respond to activities in components 1 to 4. It works with selected Government of PNG departments that are positioned to improve transparency and citizen engagement, including the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, the Department for Community Development and Religion, and the Department of Implementation and Rural Development.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Building Community Engagement in Papua New Guinea 2022 Design document
Media Development Initiative-independent-review-and-response 2020 2021 Review and management response

Partnerships for Improving Education

Partnerships for Improving Education supports the Government of Papua New Guinea to improve the delivery of, access to, and quality of education for the children of PNG. Through this investment Australia works with Government of PNG counterparts to develop and implement key national education policies and address key reforms for the sector. The investment contributes directly to learning outcomes by supporting literacy and numeracy skills and targeting increased participation in the early grades, with a particular focus on the participation of girls and children with a disability. It equips teachers with new knowledge and skills to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the early grades. PIE represents an investment of up to $75 million over eight years (2022 to 2030).

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
PIE Design Document 2021 Design
Papua New Guinea Direct Financing Support Mechanism Review 2018 Review and management response

World Bank Program of Advisory Services and Analytics (PASA)

Australia provided AUD9 million to the World Bank (WB) for its re-engagement in the PNG education sector. Dialogue between the Bank and the National Department of Education, and aims to deliver a workplan around four focus areas i) strengthening teachers’ in-service upgrading and certification; ii) identifying options for improving an overstretched school inspection function; iii) strengthening public financial management capability; and iv) monitoring and evaluation, and improving data systems. 

PNG Partnership Fund

The Papua New Guinea Partnership Fund (Education) (PPF) program made a significant contribution to the elementary education sector. As confirmed through rigorous baseline and endline studies and an independent review, the program supported outcomes in early grade literacy and numeracy; improved teacher practices; and more inclusive school environments.

The program (an investment of $69.4 million, 2017-2022) was implemented by three consortia across 10 provinces, to implement three projects: Together for Education (led by World Vision); Rapidly Improving Standards in Elementary (led by Save the Children) and Pikinini Kisim Save (led by CARE). 

PNG Partnerships for Improving Education, builds on the successes of PPF. PPF’s work, especially teacher professional development, has emerged as a promising practice for future adaptation and development by the PNG’s Department of Education. 

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
PPF Education Grants: Independent Mid-term Review 2020 Review and management response
PPF Education Program Completion Report 2022 Completion Report and Annex

Education in Emergencies

Australia provided $22 million to support the Government of PNG’s Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan for the period 2020-2022. The Plan had four priorities for support (i) remote learning; (ii) returning to school safely; (iii) safe learning at school; and (iv) resilience-building. Given the fluid nature of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these phases were implemented concurrently. Under the Plan a range of activities were implemented, including: (i) awareness raising initiatives on pandemic measures; (ii) provision of training and materials to teachers to deliver remote learning, training for teachers to deliver psychosocial programs in schools, construction of water and sanitation facilities in target schools; (iii) back to school resources for students; and (iv) supporting schools to develop and implement Disaster Risk Management Plans.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan independent evaluation and management response 2022 Review and management response

Australia Awards

Australia Awards scholarships provide greater access to Papua New Guineans to advance their professional and academic skills through tertiary study both in Australia and PNG. PNG sees the tangible benefits of the Australia Awards, with alumni holding leadership positions in PNG’s public service and working as senior managers, business owners, health workers and teachers.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Australia Awards PNG Review Report 2021 Review and management response
Australia Awards In-Country Scholarships: review and management response 2017 Review and management response

More information, including applicant eligibility criteria

Australian Volunteers Program

The Australian Volunteers Program matches skilled Australians with partner organisations in Papua New Guinea, to support them to achieve their development goals. It allows volunteers to build meaningful relationships and share cultural knowledge with everyday Papua New Guineans.

More information, including current opportunities: Australian Volunteers website.

The PNG-Australia Secondary Schools initiative (PASS)

PASS supported twelve school partnerships between PNG and Australia to collaborate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), English and youth leadership. The initiative transitioned to online learning in response to COVID-19.

Name of document Year published Type
Review of the PNGAus Partnership Secondary Schools initiative 2021 Review and management response

Related links

The PNG-Australia Secondary Schools Initiative

Education Support Services (ESS)

ESS provided technical assistance to the PNG education sector as prioritised by the Government of PNG.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Papua New Guinea Buk bilong Pikinini Literacy Program Evaluation Report 2018 Evaluation
Papua New Guinea Direct Financing Support Mechanism Review 2018 Review and management response
Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct Strategic Review 2019 Review and management response

Autonomous Region of Bougainville Programming

Australia's partnership with Papua New Guinea in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville supports peace, stability and economic growth. As a signatory witness to the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement, Australia has supported Papua New Guinea and Autonomous Bougainville governments to build capable institutions, increase economic development and promote stronger communities through peace building activities.

Related links

Australian assistance to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville


Australia’s ongoing support to the Kokoda Track and surrounding communities is delivered through the Kokoda Initiative Partnership (KIP), valued at approximately $5 million per year administered by DFAT. The aim of the KIP is to support and improve the lives of communities along the Track through a variety of governance, development and livelihoods initiatives, including harnessing the benefits of trekking groups and tourism.

Related links

Australia—Papua New Guinea engagement

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
PNG-Australia Joint Declaration on the Preservation of the Kokoda Track Region 2015 Joint declaration

PNG Climate Finance Initiative for Resilience and a Sustainable Transition (Climate FIRST)

Climate FIRST ($20 million, 2024-28) will assist PNG to tackle climate change by addressing structural and institutional barriers to accessing global climate financing. Australia will partner with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), to support the PNG Government with developing investment proposals, coordinating across key agencies and departments and brokering implementation partnerships.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Investment Design Document for PNG -Climate FIRST (Climate Finance for Resilience and a Sustainable Transition) 2024 Design

PNG-Australia Climate Change Action Plan

In 2018, PNG and Australia entered into a joint commitment to work together to advance effective action on climate change. This joint commitment known as the PNG-Australia Climate Change Action Plan will see both PNG and Australia work cooperatively to:

  • Develop the capacity of PNG national, provincial and local governments to address the impact of climate change
  • Support PNG to access global climate finance opportunities
  • Cooperate on direct programs for climate action
  • Support the Development of clean energy markets and continue to focus on climate smart infrastructure
  • Hold an Annual Climate Change Dialogue on climate change matters

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
PNG -Australia Climate Change Action Plan 2018 Agreement

PNG Disaster Risk Reduction Program

This program supports the Government of PNG in developing fundamental information and practices for the effective response and management of natural hazards. Given PNG’s vulnerability to natural disasters we incorporate flexibility into our systems so we can step up our humanitarian assistance to PNG if required. Defence is exploring bilateral mechanisms and working with likeminded partners to deepen cooperation in this area.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Evaluation of Australia's response to PNG El Nino drought 2015-2017 2017 Independent Evaluation

PNG Institutional Partnerships Program (PIPP)

The PNG Institutional Partnerships Program (PIPP) builds on the successes of the Institutional Partnerships Program (2017-2022) to support the development of long-term institutional relationships between Australian and PNG government entities.

The program (an investment of $52 million over 2022-26) funds a broad range of capacity development support and activities which contribute to the objective of a strong and durable economic and strategic partnership between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Evaluation of the Papua New Guinea Institutional Partnerships Program – Phase 1 2020 Evaluation
DFAT Management Response to the Evaluation of the Papua New Guinea Institutional Partnerships Program – Phase 1 2020 Management Response

Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)

ANCP is a partnership between the Australian Government and accredited Australian NGOs. For over 40 years, this partnership has contributed to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in some of the world's poorest countries. ANCP assists 27 Australian NGO projects in PNG.

Related links

Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)

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