24 Nov 2003

Australia urged to become more involved in PNG by former Prime Minister

2:06 pm on 24 November 2003

PNG's Opposition Leader, Sir Mekere Morauta, has urged Australia to become more involved in the neighbouring country.

Sir Mekere, a former prime minister, said Australia should be "harsher" in its dealings with PNG, which receives hundreds of millions of dollars in Australian aid each year.

He said he wanted Australia to become more involved in making sure that its money was spent for PNG's good because the country appeared to be incapable of doing it itself.

Sir Mekere's comments come as the PNG government prepares to sign-off on Australia's plan to deploy around 200 policemen and accountants to help tackle corruption and lawlessness.

But Sir Mekere has warned that many other politicians are against Australia taking a more heavy-handed approach with its neighbour.

He told the Australian Associated Press that their attitude was give us the money but don't tell us what to do.