23 Aug 2018

MP upset at Australian advisors in Bougainville

From , 5:03 am on 23 August 2018

An MP in the autonomous Bougainville parliament says Australian aid to the region is being used to jockey for position ahead of the vote on possible independence.

Bougainville is due to vote next year on whether to remain part of Papua New Guinea or choose independence.

Donor nations have started increasing their support but MP Joseph Watawi is taking issue with Australia sending in teams of advisers, without consultation.

He says the advisers are there to gain political power and influence for Australia when what Bougainville needs are nurses, doctors and engineers.

Mr Watawi told Don Wiseman he thinks the Australian assistance is focused on the possible re-emergence of the former Australian owned mining company, Bougainville Copper Ltd - the company which sparked the Bougainville crisis.

A lake in the pit of the long defunct Panguna mine in Bougainville.

A lake in the pit of the long defunct Panguna mine in Bougainville. Photo: www.travelinspired.co.nz

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