Australia Foreign Minister Downplays PNG Plan To Ban Foreigners

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PM’s decision could impact 34 public servants, 100 technical advisors

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 5, 2015) – Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has played down Papua New Guinea’s decision to kick out Australian officials working for its government.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill wants to get rid of all foreign advisers by the end of 2015. It will likely affect Australia’s 34 public servants on secondment as well as more than 100 technical advisers.

Bishop told the Australian Associated Press in a statement that she welcomed O’Neill’s plan to undertake a review into the efficient delivery of aid to PNG.

O’Neill said the Government planned to get rid of "middlemen and expensive consultants" who used up development support funds given by donor countries.

"Development assistance has become a billion dollar industry where so much of the goodwill ends up in the pockets of middlemen and expensive consultants," O’Neill said.

"I wonder if the people of Australia realise how much of the money they give to help PNG and other countries is actually paid to middlemen and lawyers."

He said in a statement yesterday one of the biggest obstacles to effective development support were middlemen who took commissions on aid expenditure.

He said the country wanted to "move beyond hand-outs and work with our partners to strengthen capacity".

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