Australia and Papua New Guinea to ink security treaty, discussions from October

BYYasir Rehman


To elevate bilateral security cooperation, Australia and Papua New Guinea Thursday decided to commence discussions on bilateral security treaty in October 2021.

The decision was taken during 28th Papua New Guinea–Australia Ministerial Forum, held to advance the special partnership between the two nations.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne co-chaired the virtual Forum with Papua New Guinea Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Soroi Eoe.

Participating Ministers for Australia were: Senator the Simon Birmingham, Minister for Finance; Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence; Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care; Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Home Affairs; Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; and Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific; and for Papua New Guinea:  Ian Ling Stuckey MP, Minister for Treasury; Westly Nukundj MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Security; Renbo Paita, Minister for National Planning and Monitoring; Sir John Pundari CMG KBE MP, Minister for Finance; Wera Mori MP, Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change; Jelta Wong MP, Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS and Bryan Kramer MP, Minister for Justice.

Foreign Minister Eoe led the PNG delegation

According to 27 point Joint communique issued after the meeting, Ministers agreed on a new $6 million package of biosecurity cooperation to assist Papua New Guinea in controlling animal disease.

Ministers also agreed on the priority of deepening cooperation on education and skills, financing, and expanding trade and discussed the importance of critical infrastructure for PNG’s development, highlighting the $2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.

“Ministers agreed to prioritise a review of bilateral trade and investment arrangements under Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership CSEP, including to assess how to grow economic cooperation between two countries”, the Communique said.

The Joint Communique further said that Australian Ministers agreed to give priority in 2021 across the land, maritime, and air domains to advance Papua New Guinea’s security, infrastructure and capability priorities, and to promote people-to-people links and interoperability between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and PNGDF. 

Both sides also discussed the importance of free, fair and transparent election processes as general elections are scheduled in both Papua New Guinea and Australia next year.

“As vibrant and inclusive democracies, Ministers agreed that secure and safe elections are an essential expression of our peoples’ freedoms and must be fully supported and adequately resourced by governments”, Communique read.

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