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By Peku Pilimbo

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb.8) – A delegation of 11 Australian union representatives and Australian Labor party officials arrived in Papua New Guinea yesterday for consultations with their PNG colleagues.

The visitors will spend two days collecting information and establishing individual trade union networks.

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Assistant Secretary Richard Marles said the aim was to work in close consultation with each other.

He explained that over the next two days, they will collect information and establish routes to help wherever they could and seek funding from the International Labour Organization to train union officials in PNG.

He said union relations between the two countries had been non-existent but the visit would establish the necessary network with individual union groups in PNG.

Mr Marles described the visit as one of their biggest travels outside of Australia.

Public Employees Association national president Michael Malabag welcomed the visitors, saying there was a need for trade union bodies to work together.

"As we slowly move further into the 21st century, we must take stock of our shortcomings and be more conscience of political developments, social and environmental predicaments, the economic situation and where PNG is heading. Forget our failures and let us be more resourceful in tackling pour adversaries head-on. There is simply no room for complacency," said Mr Malabag.

PNG Trade Union Congress Secretary-General John Paska said unions from both countries must stand together and help each other in times of need.

February 9, 2005

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