Australia, PNG announce package for bolstered defence partnership

7:52 am on 25 July 2019

Australia and Papua New Guinea have announced a new package of initiatives to build on their defence partnership.

Valued at US$14 million, the initiatives will enhance PNG's "minimum sustainable" military capability in aviation and maritime security.

PNG PM James Marape and Australian PM Scott Morrison.

PNG PM James Marape and Australian PM Scott Morrison. Photo: PNG Govt

They also include building infrastructure, specifically the Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island.

Announced in a joint statement after this week's bilateral leaders meeting in Canberra, Australia will also commit US$95 million over three and a half years to PNG's new long-term policing programme.

It said the funding will modernise police operations through improved community-level service delivery, prosecution services and enhanced training

It represents Australia's largest bilateral policing partnership and will complement regional policing initiatives in the Pacific.

The statement also said the two countries had agreed to start negotiations towards a new Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP).

"Commitments ... will boost our engagement across key areas - security cooperation, examining bilateral trade and investment arrangements, governance, people-to-people and institutional links, a visible development program and regional cooperation," the statement read.