Australia High Commissioner To PNG Visits Remote West Sepik Region
Davies presence in border district demonstrated renewed interest in region
By Isaac Nicholas
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 17, 2017) – The Australian Government will now make its presence felt more in border districts of Papua New Guinea. Australian High Commissioner to PNG Bruce Davies led all divisional heads of politics, infrastructure, Defence, and two others flying into remote Telefomin District of West Sepik yesterday and spent the whole day visiting projects in the area.
With the new challenges in regional political landscape, the visit does speak volumes at Australia’s renewed interest.
This was the first and historic high level visit representing Canberra since the first Australian patrol officers and policemen were killed by locals during the first patrol into Telefomin in 1953.
Canberra, through the High Commissioner, has recently shown great interest in the border areas with recent visits to Frieda prospect and Vanimo in Sandaun.
Yesterday, the High Commissioner and his delegation, accompanied by local MP Solan Mirisim flew into Telefomin highlighting a renewed relationship and "not to spend more time in major towns but in districts.
"We want to learn about challenges but to look at opportunities there are in health, education, infrastructure and defence co-operation.
"We want to listen to your priorities, your ambitions and then think about how we can provide support."
Mr Davies said Australia responded to women’s concern about gender equality and promised to Send in the Head of Women’s Desk at the Commission to fly in to discuss women issues and how best to assist.
The High Commissioner also made a immediate commitment of K25 000 for Medical equipment for Telefomin which he said ‘is a small commitment’ today and will look at further assistance in the near future.
He also talked about assisting with education scholarships at tertiary level and public service short term training.
Hundreds of people turned up to witness and listen to the Australian Government commitments since 1953, although Australian churches have taken the lead to develop this remote district.
"We want to listen to your priorities,your ambitions and then think about how we can provide support" Mr Davies said
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