PAPUA NEW GUINEA-AUSTRALIA ANNUAL LEADERS DIALOGUE

The Hon Scott Morrison MP.
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PAPUA NEW GUINEA-AUSTRALIA ANNUAL LEADERS DIALOGUE
The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister James Marape held the third Papua New Guinea-Australia Annual Leaders’ Dialogue virtually on 8 December 2021.
 
The two Prime Ministers recognised the critical importance of the Australia-Papua New Guinea bilateral relationship, the continued close cooperation between our two countries, and our shared interests in a secure, stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic region. They underlined their ongoing commitment to the Papua New Guinea-Australia Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP).
 
Papua New Guinea and Australia are working hand in hand to counter the health and economic damage from COVID-19. Prime Minister Morrison advised that in addition to more than $340 million in COVID-19 related assistance that Australia has delivered to support Papua New Guinea’s response to the pandemic, Australia will provide a further $35 million in sector budget support towards the Papua New Guinea Government’s tuition fee subsidy for primary schools, ensuring around 1.1 million primary school students can continue their education. Prime Minister Marape thanked Australia for its steadfast commitment to comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine supply for PNG, and delivery support.
 
The Prime Ministers also discussed Australia’s financial assistance to support Papua New Guinea’s economic reforms and budget repair, and the suspension of Papua New Guinea’s principal and interest repayments on a 2020 loan from Australia, consistent with the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative. Prime Minister Marape welcomed the confidence shown by Australian companies including Santos, Fortescue Future Industries and Telstra, to invest in Papua New Guinea despite global economic challenges.
 
The Prime Ministers recognised the close partnership Australia and Papua New Guinea have built to meet infrastructure needs in Papua New Guinea, including through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). They discussed the pipeline of high quality, sustainable infrastructure projects, including transport‑related infrastructure and energy projects being developed under the AIFFP.
 
They warmly welcomed cooperation under the AIFFP to provide quality, climate-resilient ports infrastructure that will provide significant economic and social benefits to the people of Papua New Guinea.
 
The Prime Ministers recognised the enormous value of preserving Papua New Guinea’s forests, including to contribute to the global response to climate change, which poses especially serious challenges for the Pacific. They agreed that Australia would provide additional support to Papua New Guinea’s forestry sector, including project support for nature-based climate solutions. The Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Building Capacity for Participation in Global Carbon Markets by Ministers at COP26 in Glasgow, establishing a partnership under the Indo-Pacific Carbon Offsets Scheme.
 
The Prime Ministers discussed Australia’s long-standing support for PNG’s national elections processes, noting continuing cooperation through their respective national election bodies and logistical and other support for PNG’s 2022 national election.
 
The Prime Ministers discussed Australia and Papua New Guinea’s swift deployments alongside Fiji and New Zealand at the request of the Solomon Islands Government to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force response to civil unrest. They emphasised the importance of resolving any differences peacefully, lawfully and through dialogue.
 
The Prime Ministers undertook to continue working together to respond to the shared challenges of the Pacific family. They discussed the importance of the Pacific Islands Forum and its critical role in responding to shared challenges, and expressed their hopes for the continued unity of the Forum.  
 
[ENDS]
Foreign Affairs and Trade