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Development assistance in Papua New Guinea

Flag of Papua New Guinea

Stability in Papua New Guinea

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 to better represent the breadth of our security cooperation. We will continue to promote stability and social cohesion by supporting the Bougainville Peace Agreement, following the 2019 referendum and 2020 election.

The Defence Cooperation Program in PNG is providing the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) largest international response to COVID-19, supporting the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) across operations, infrastructure, equipment and border security. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has swung in behind the Royal PNG Constabulary’s (RPNGC) coordinating role in COVID-19. Longer-term, the AFP, through the Policing Partnership, will continue to support RPNGC to build its capabilities and support its reform ambitions.

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 is playing a key role in supporting PNG’s COVID-19 Education Emergency Response and Recovery Plan, as education provides stability for children.  Support includes 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

Supporting investments

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.

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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: Investment Design 2015 Design document
Papua New Guinea Justice Services and Stability for Development Program (JSS4D): Mid-term review 2018 Evaluation report

Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development

The Pacific Women program aims to improve the political, economic and social opportunities of women in PNG. Pacific Women in PNG (2012-2022) focuses on four outcomes across 24 activities:

  • Increase women's leadership and influence in decision-making, including at local government level;
  • Increase economic opportunities for women;
  • Strengthen the national response to violence against women and provide expanded support services; and
  • Enhance knowledge and evidence to inform policy and practice.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Delivery Strategy: Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development 2012–2022 2012 Strategy
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development–Design document 2014 Design document
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development: Papua New Guinea Country Plan Summary 2014 Plan and design
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development in Papua New Guinea: Mid-term Review of the Papua New Guinea Country Plan, and management response 2017 Independent evaluation

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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 COVID-19 and 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

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 GoPNG 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 will work with Government of PNG counterparts to develop and implement key national education policies and address key reforms for the sector. The investment will contribute 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 will equip 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

PNG Partnership Fund

The Papua New Guinea Partnership Fund (Education) program (PPF) 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). 

DFAT’s new education program, 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

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 supports 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

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 strengthen governance and service delivery, increase economic growth and promote social cohesion 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), a bilateral arrangement in place in its current form since 2015 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

Stepping-up in Papua New Guinea

Related documents*

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

Climate Change

This investment aims to enhance resilience of PNG communities and of critical social and economic infrastructure. The investment has three components; small grants for NGOs to enhance resilience of vulnerable communities; capacity development and support; and support for green growth and climate smart infrastructure investments.

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 intonation private 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

Related links

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 are building flexibility into our COVID-19 Development Response Plan 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

Combatting Corruption in PNG

The Combating Corruption in PNG investment provides support to the Government of PNG to improve its anti-money laundering, financing of illegal operations regime and strengthen the role of the Ombudsman Commission.

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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