4 May 2007

Former PNG PM keen on reviving Australian assistance deal

2:20 pm on 4 May 2007

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, says there is a need to re-embrace Australia's Enhanced Co-operation Programme.

The ECP had as one of its aims to rebuild the capabilities of the PNG public service, but it was scaled back dramatically two years ago after court action challenging its legality.

But Sir Mekere, who has begun campaigning for his PNG Party says corruption is far worse that it was five years and there's a need to strengthen the oversight agencies such as the ombudsman and auditor general.

Sir Mekere says the ECP should be brought back but it must be run by PNG.

"First we have to admit that we do have problems. The second question is do we have the resources and the finances to undertake the very comprehensive attack [on corruption] and the answer is no. And that is where the Enhancement Programme comes in, as long as we are doing the driving and our friends give us the fuel."

Sir Mekere Morauta