PNG PM Attends Mining And Petroleum Conference In Australia

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O’Neill talks 2015 budget, investment, political stability

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 3, 2014) – Papua New Guinea’s record budget in 2015 has been a subject of much discussion at the 13th PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney.

The conference is being attended by close to 2000 leading resource industry and government executives.

In his keynote address and subsequent engagement with business representatives, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill provided information on key budget expenditure, particularly as this relates to the resources sector.

Mr O’Neill updated the business sector on increased Government investment in the areas of education, health, law and order and infrastructure.

"The national budget of 2015 again significantly boosts spending in basic services that are improving the lives of our people and building our socio-economic infrastructure that is critical for ongoing economic growth," he said.

"I reaffirm our Government’s commitment to improving basic services and building infrastructure in a careful and sensible manner.

"This includes record investment in free primary education, free universal health care and expanded skills training for our people."

Delegates at the conference were especially interested in discussing Papua New Guinea’s projected growth in the coming years. This is expected to be the highest in the Asia Pacific region largely due to the revenue generated from the PNG/LNG project.

Ongoing investment in infrastructure and the devolution of services to local level governments were also a subject of discussion.

[PIR Editor’s note: The National reported that ‘Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has extended an invitation to potential overseas investors to help build a "strong, secure and harmonious" Papua New Guinea. ... He told the PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment conference in Sydney that the country "remains a sound and secure nation in which to invest and to do business". ... "My message to this conference has been clear. We can and must build on our success in the resources sector. .... "And to do this we need high quality overseas investment, management and expertise," he said.’ The PNG Post-Courier reported that ‘O’Neill tells the Sydney mining conference that the government he leads has overwhelming parliamentary support and its underlying political stability remains strong.’]

"The budget provides substantial outlay of K3 billion [US$1.1 billion] for important infrastructure that is vital for rural communities, such as roads and bridges, as well as electricity and clean water.

"The delivery of these Government services is funded through the Provincial and District Support Improvement Programs which allow an allocation of K10 million [US$3.8 million] for each district and K20 million [US$7.6 million] for each province respectively."

Mr O’Neill said by dispersing funds this way, Government resources were reaching the rural areas where services were needed the most.

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