15 Dec 2004

Australian think tank calls for strenthening of PNG institutions

2:32 pm on 15 December 2004

An Australian think tank says the key to solving law and order problems in Papua New Guinea is to rebuild the country's institutions.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report called "Strengthening our neighbour: Australia and the future of Papua New Guinea" says Australia greatest foreign policy challenge are the pervasive and systemic weaknesses in PNG's government institutions.

Co-author Professor Hugh White of the Australian National University says the billions of dollars in aid paid to PNG by Australia have failed.

He says the new Enhanced Cooperation Package to restore law and order and improve the operation of government departments will also be ineffective.

Professor White says Australia needs to spend much more on aid but he is not advocating that more police be sent.

"What you really need to do is build PNG's own national institutions so its institutions can work more effectively. I mean PNG is a poor country, it doesn't have enough police in its police force, but the quality of policing that is actually delivered in PNG is much more a reflection of the administrative and institutional weaknesses of the system, rather than a lack of individuals or for that matter a lack of skills in those individuals."

Hugh White