Joint understanding between Australia and Papua New Guinea on further bilateral cooperation on health, education and law and order

Signed in Brisbane 19 July 2013

This Joint Understanding outlines practical measures Australia and Papua New Guinea will pursue together to strengthen cooperation in the areas of health, education and law and order in Papua New Guinea. It builds on the mutually agreed principles governing cooperation set out in the Joint Partnership Declaration signed in Port Moresby in May 2013. Foremost among them are the goals of assisting Papua New Guinea to promote domestic conditions conducive for economic development and better service delivery. The measures represent a further intensification of practical bilateral cooperation, which since the Port Moresby Declaration of 2008 has expanded in depth and breadth.

Health, Law and Order and Education

  1. Improving conditions for investment and service delivery will assist Papua New Guinea maintain economic growth, diversity its economy, and strengthen underpinning human capital. In response to Papua New Guinea’s development priorities, Australia has offered to enhance cooperation in the areas of health, law and order, education and infrastructure.
  2. Both governments will work together to further strengthen Papua New Guinea’s health system so it can better cope with the growing population and significant health challenges. Fully functioning hospitals remain a key element to achieving this. Drawing on the recent experience of improving management of the Port Moresby General Hospital, Australia and Papua New Guinea will partner in the reconstruction and management of Lae hospital. In addition to funding senior management personnel who would operate under an independent hospital board, Australia will accelerate existing funding support for the implementation of the Master Plan and Scope of Works, and fund 50 per cent of the capital costs associated with reconstruction, with Papua New Guinea to fund the remaining 50 per cent and ongoing recurrent operational costs. Planning and feasibility design will commence from the date of announcement, and will be subject to mutual agreement.
  3. Good law and order is fundamental to Papua New Guinea’s development and for promoting business confidence. Australia will deploy to Port Moresby and Lae by the end of 2013 a Police Contingent comprised of 50 Australian police. They will have a publicly visible role assisting the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) to strengthen community policing and evidence-based operations. Papua New Guinea undertakes to increase funding to expand, and better equip and train, the RPNGC. Australia will also bring forward the scoping and design work for the reconstruction of lower courts in Port Moresby in order to deal with Papua New Guinea’s law and order challenges.
  4. Australia and Papua New Guinea recognize the centrality of a well-educated population for future public administration and business needs. As a matter of priority, Australia will prioritise support to rehabilitation of essential infrastructure at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG). In support of teacher training, Australia will support a twinning and exchange program between UPNG and Australian tertiary institutions that will foster further skills development. Commencing in 2014, Australia and PNG will jointly implement the recommendations of the review of tertiary education, on a kina for kina basis, as agreed at the 2011 Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum.
  5. In terms of Papua New Guinea’s public infrastructure needs, Australia will bring forward the scoping and design study for the Madang-Ramu Highway.
  6. Strong administrative capability and leadership is as important as operational capacities to all these areas. At Papua New Guinea’s request Australia will also assist in the recruitment of senior positions for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, Department of Health, Department of Education and Correctional Services.

(signed)

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Prime Minister of Australia

(signed)

The Hon Peter O'Neill CMG MP
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea