22 Sep 2003

PNG Highlands MPs confident government will fund road repairs

4:30 pm on 22 September 2003

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Enga Province says the repair of the Highlands Highway is essential to the country's economy.

Peter Ipatas says all 35 MPs from the Highlands region expect a favourable response from the prime minister to their request for 600,000 U.S. dollars to be allocated in next year's budget for the repais.

He says it's estimated it will cost 1.5 million dollars in total so they've suggested that the government ask Australia if it's willing to make up the remainder.

Mr Iapatas says it's the first time the Highlands MPs have presented a unified view.

"The people would have a better road - it would open up the market for the people and at the same time goods and services can be delivered to the region, and of course it is not only for the people of the highlands you know. This is the nation's lifeline. You've got oil and gas and gold in the region, of course we've got coffee and tea you need a good road to market these commodities."

Mr Ipatas says they expect a response from the prime minister by the end of the week.