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By Richard Dinnen

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 30, 2001 -- Radio Australia)---The government has appointed an Australian consultant to manage the privatization of two key government owned enterprises.

The announcement comes as the government's much discussed privatization program begins to take effect.

Canberra-based consultant Mike Hutchinson has been hired to sell Papua New Guinea Telecom and Post PNG. The two cumbersome organizations have long been a drain on the public purse without reliably serving the country's communications needs.

Hutchinson is a former director of Australia Post and the overseas Telecommunications Commission. He also managed the Australian government's privatization of telecommunications provider Telstra.

The PNG government is committed to privatization, but the electorate is suspicious and trade unions are openly hostile.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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