13 May 2015

Australia to open mission in Bougainville

8:37 am on 13 May 2015

Australia has unveiled plans to open a foreign mission in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville.

As part of its 2015 Budget, Australia will commit $78 and a half million US dollars to open five overseas missions - in Qatar, Mongolia, Thailand, the Indonesian city of Makassar on the island of Sulawesi, and in Buka on Bougainville.

It's the single largest expansion of Australia's diplomatic network in forty years.

Coming under criticism last year with budget cuts to foreign aid, the Australian Foreign Ministry says it's the 13th largest OECD donor country in dollar terms.

The Australian Government says it will also establish a $40 million US dollar competitive gender equality fund to strengthen gender equality and women's economic empowerment in the region.

Arawa, Bougainville

Arawa, Bougainville Photo: RNZI