Up to $50 million 2015-2016
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, as elsewhere in PNG, faces a range of constraints to economic growth and human development. Bougainville continues to face additional challenges as a result of its nine year civil conflict (1988 to 1997).
In consultation with the PNG Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Australia is increasing its aid to Bougainville to support stability by strengthening governance and service delivery, promoting social cohesion and economic growth, and empowering women and youth. Australia will also continue to support the PNG Government and ABG in their efforts to coordinate donor assistance to Bougainville.
Australia delivers the bulk of its assistance in Bougainville through its PNG national programs. Through sector activities in health, education, transport infrastructure, and law and justice, Australia aims to build capacity within the ABG to improve its capacity to deliver services.
In health, Australia works through the Health and HIV program to support the ABG Department of Health to progress programs and reforms in public health, health systems, workforce planning and rural health. Australia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ABG and PNG National Department of Health to define joint engagement on technical assistance, capacity building, health infrastructure and the procurement of health equipment and transport assets.
In education, Australia is working through the ABG Department of Education to establish a foundation for a Bougainville-specific education program across the sub-sectors of elementary, primary, secondary and post-secondary education – including Technical Vocational Education and Training. Support includes school infrastructure through the Health and Education Procurement Facility. Adult literacy is an increasing priority for Australia’s assistance. In 2014–15, 41 Bougainvilleans benefited from the Australia Awards program.
In 2014–15, the Australian-funded Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP) helped the ABG Department of Technical Services (DTS) to deliver road maintenance and rehabilitation of 403 kilometers of priority road. About 80 per cent of Bougainville’s population, schools and health facilities are within seven kilometers of the core road network that Australia maintains. As part of this work, Community Works Agreements provided employment for around 16,000 people across Bougainville in 2014 (of whom 27 per cent were women). Australia will continue to explore opportunities to work more in South and Central Bougainville.
Through the PNG-Australia Law and Justice Partnership, Australia supports infrastructure development, delivery of law and justice services at the community level (including training) and gender (building of safe houses and leadership training). Since the commencement of the Pre Recruit Education Program (PREP) in 2015, 40 Bougainvilleans have obtained the equivalent qualification standard under PREP to enable entry into the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary’s Bomana Police Training College. The PREP is the first program of its kind in PNG, and is an important part of rebuilding the Bougainville Police Service.
Supporting effective governance is a priority for Australia’s aid to Bougainville, as we aim to improve the capacity of the ABG to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA). Assistance is provided through the Governance and Implementation Fund, which is co-funded by New Zealand, as well as under the Provincial and Local Government Program (PLGP). As agreed with the ABG, priorities for 2015–16 include strengthening communication capacity in Bougainville, rebuilding human services, improving the coherence and accountability of the budget, assisting with the draw-down of powers (as mandated under the BPA) and expanding the presence and capacity of the ABG at the regional and local level.
We are expanding our economic assistance to Bougainville to support private sector engagement in agriculture including the restoration of profitable cocoa production under the new PNG Transformative Agriculture and Enterprise Development Program. Australia is partnering with the ABG and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to improve management strategies for cocoa and food security. In partnership with New Zealand, Australia also supports a Commodity Support Facility (CSF) to establish partnership arrangements between the ABG and the private sector, NGOs and farmer cooperatives or community groups.
Australia supports the Bougainville Peace Building Program recognising its important contribution to reconciliation through traditional approaches and dialogue. Australia also supports the implementation of the Bougainville Gender Investment Plan (part of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Program), which aims to reduce gender-based violence, strengthen women’s leadership and improve women’s economic opportunities. We will work with NGOs to increase the positive social, economic and political participation of youth and people with disabilities in Bougainville’s society and their contribution to its peaceful future.