1 Jul 2004

Australian police could arrive in PNG as soon as the end of July

8:56 pm on 1 July 2004

The Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, says the first Australian police to be sent under the new Enhanced Co-operation Programme may arrive by the end of July.

The aid treaty, signed on Wednesday, is worth 630 million US dollars over five years, will see up to 300 Australian police and public officials sent to strengthen the PNG police force, and help its government with finance, justice, and border security.

Sir Rabbie says there have been a handful of Australians advising in various departments since April, but the first police, around 20, will be sent to Bougainville, then Port Moresby and Lae.

He says first he has to table the treaty, which he will do next week.

"as well as to present Enabling legislation, a bill basically, a very simple bill to enable this treaty to be implemented, and that should happen next week"