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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, July 27) – The Papua New Guinea parliament has passed legislation authorizing a program to introduce Australian police and public officials within the PNG government.

This comes seven months after Australian and Papua New Guinea ministers agreed on the plan.

Under the so-called Enhanced Cooperation Program, Australian police and judicial experts will work with their PNG counterparts within the PNG government and justice systems.

Representatives from both countries will soon meet to form a joint steering committee, which will oversee implementation of the ECP, with the next group of Australian officials to arrive in mid-August.

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says the first Australian police will arrive on Bougainville in early September, following a week of training in Port Moresby.

July 28, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:

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