Australia ready to help PNG deal with its national debt

7:03 pm on 14 August 2019

Australia is willing to help Papua New Guinea refinance its national debt.

Reuters reports the Australian Minister for the Pacific, Alex Hawke, made the promise in Tuvalu where he attending the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit.

The Australian vow comes amid Beijing's efforts to increase its influence in PNG.

Downtown Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Downtown Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Last week the office of the PNG Prime Minister revealed the James Marape led government had sought Chinese help to refinance $US7.8 billion of debt.

Mr Marape later resiled from this, saying China was among a number of parties the government was talking with about its debt.

Australia and its western allies have accused China of using loans to increase influence in the Pacific - something China has denied.

Mr Hawke said Australian MPs would soon head to Port Moresby for talks, including on assistance for debt refinancing.