The Papua New Guinea prime minister, James Marape, says there is no better person to be Minister for Bougainville Affairs than Sir Puka Temu.
In a press statement Mr Marape affirmed his government's commitment to the Bougainville peace process and the October independence referendum, but said they would prefer the province to stay within PNG.
He said Sir Puka had a long association with the people of Bougainville and is regarded by both governments as an honest broker.
Mr Marape said Sir Puka had an intimate knowledge of the Peace Agreement and related issues, and will be invaluable as the PNG government works towards the referendum.
He said the appointment shows the commitment of the new government to addressing Bougainville issues.
Mr Marape said it's his intention to do everything he can to maintain a lasting peace on Bougainville, and to empower the people of Bougainville to embrace economic opportunity.
He said it's the view of his government that PNG is stronger with Bougainville than without, and unity was the preferred course of action, but he said they would let the referendum take place, listen to the people of Bougainville, and then consult on options for the future.