28 Nov 2003

Australia to deploy police to PNG

9:12 am on 28 November 2003

Australia's Justice Minister Chris Ellison has confirmed his government's national security committee is planning to establish a permanent 500-member heavily armed police force for deployment to trouble spots in the Pacific.

The powerful cabinet committee also agreed that a force of up to 300 police should be made avaliable to be sent to Papua New Guinea to help restore law and order in that country.

The plans come after the director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Hugh White, called for the establishment of a force of 2000 last month.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer visited Port Moresby in September to discuss the proposal to send a police group to PNG.

Mr Downer will meet PNG Foreign Ministry officials in Adelaide on December 11 in an effort to finalise arrangements for their deployment..