PNG Government Terminates Services Of 33 Foreign Advisors

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Contracts for seconded employees not renewed

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 5, 2016) – The services of about 33 foreign advisors seconded to government departments have been terminated as announced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last year.

It has been confirmed that 15 are Australian public servants whose contracts ended on December 31.

Personnel Management Secretary John Kali said yesterday the services of all foreign advisors seconded to the Government departments have ended.

Mr O’Neill said last September that advisors had made local workers "lazy" while in some cases decisions were being made not in the interest of PNG. He argued that he wanted these advisors to show loyalty to the Government.

Australian consultants and advisors had been attached to the Internal Revenue Commission, PNG Customs Service, Attorney-General Department, Office of the Auditor-General, Ombudsman Commission, and Treasury and Finance departments.

They had been part of a long-term "Strongim Gavman Program" which aims to improve the quality of public administration in PNG – Australia’s largest aid recipient – which has struggled since its independence in the 1970s.

They have been employed under the "Strongim Gavman Program" which included staff in key justice areas of PNG including its Attorney-General Department, the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the Office of the Solicitor-General.

Mr Kali said that those who wanted to continue their services would have to sign an agreement to join the PNG public service and be subject to local pay remuneration.

"As of January 1, if they wish to continue working, then they have to sign a performance and commitment agreement with the Government under the respective departments they work under and be engaged.

"They also have to leave their employment with the foreign government they were employed with and work under PNG employment," he said.

Mr Kali said that the Australian advisors who have remained in PNG have been told to move aside and work at the Australian High Commission while the Government looked at alternative arrangements.

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