Bougainville begins groundwork on referendum

3:16 pm on 14 April 2015

The outgoing Bougainville government has started laying the groundwork for a referendum to be held on possible independence from Papua New Guinea.

That vote has to occur by 2020 at the latest and will be the key issue for the new parliament to be elected next month.

To help meet the conditions laid down in the Bougainville Peace Agreement for the question to be put, the autonomous region's chief administrator, Chris Siriosi, is heading the newly set up Office of the Bougainville Referendum.

He says with the help of a New Zealand expert they have established the areas they need to focus on.

"Most important of which is the consultations with the people of Bougainville - engagment with the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. Work stream number two is the weapons disposal assessment. Work stream number three is the criteria enabling non-resident Bougainvilleans to vote."

Bougainville readies for election

Bougainville readies for election Photo: AFP