4 Aug 2005

PNG business sector seeks retention of Australian officials

2:27 pm on 4 August 2005

A Papua New Guinea business leader says businesses have asked Australia to leave in place those officials it still has in PNG under its aid programme.

Australia removed all police sent under the Enhanced Cooperation Programme, or ECP, after the PNG Supreme Court ruled that the had no immunity from prosecution.

PNG Chamber of Commerce president, Michael Mayberry, says businesses have asked that Australia retain the remaining forty so-called in-line officers in PNG, but has had no reply.

Businesses have also sought Australian police secondments to PNG, also without result.

Mr Mayberry says while the ECP may be dead, an alternative should be sought.

"I think that the problem is Australia still feels that PNG should be able to change the constitution and progress along that road, and we're sort of saying, look even if that was possible that's going to take some time. The way legislation is changed here, we're look at at least one year and probably several years before that happens, and in the meantime we've still got, got a problem."

Michael Mayberry.