19 Apr 2012

PNG's O'Neill calls on Australia to ease visa requirements

4:35 am on 19 April 2012

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has called for Australia to ease its visa requirements for Papua New Guineans and asked his Foreign Minister to discuss the subject with Canberra.

In a statement, Mr O'Neill said PNG has issued holders of Australian passports visas on arrival since independence, and that Australia should think about returning the courtesy.

He said many PNG nationals, including frequent travellers to Australia, continue to experience the frustrations of the visa process.

The Prime Minister described the visa situation as being at odds with the strong bonds between PNG and Australia.

He said visas are particularly important to PNG's up and coming sports stars, who benefit greatly from international competition.

Mr O'Neill called on all Papua New Guineans to respect the privileges associated with visas to enter Australia, and not over stay.