PNG In The News

PNG In The News

Featuring articles and news reports about contemporary Papua New Guinea—also included are the nation’s sporting achievements and events, and stories about young people doing interesting things—we encourage young people to become involved in PNGAA to ensure the strong ties formed between Papua New Guinea and Australia continue into the future.

 

  • PNG KUNDU, December 2021

 

Restriction on Mining Development

In a statement reported by PNG Business News, No. 2, 2021, Rodney Orioso, Minister for Minerals and Energy Resources in the Autonomous Government of Bougainville, said he intends to limit mineral exploration endeavours in new or greenfield sites until certain issues are resolved. Restrictions on existing mining in selected areas of Bougainville would remain.

He wanted to see in place a staged approach to mining development giving priority to ecological, economic and social sustainability.

Furthermore he wished to see parallel development of the government’s regularity resources recognising the lack of human resources in this area.

‘Let’s put our house in order before creating more problems,’ he said.

 

Clean Energy for PNG 

PNG Business News, 17 August 2021, revealed that the PNG government had signed an agreement with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) to enter into an agreement that would revolutionise power generation and supply in PNG in the future. The instrument was signed by the Minister for State Enterprise William Duma and Andrew Forrest of FMG and witnessed and co-signed by the Prime Minister, James Marape, and Fortescue Future Industries CEO, Julie Shuttleforth.

https://www.pngbusinessnews.com/articles/2021/8/png-signs-agreement-with-fortescue-metals-group

Gulf Offshore Gas Project 

Early in July the Government of Papua New Guinea and Twinza Oil Ltd agreed on the royalties to be paid for the Kena 27 billion (US$ 800 million) Pasco A gas project in the Gulf of Papua. Under the deal the government would receive a total benefit package of fifty-five per cent calculated on a nominal cash flow basis, Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua said.

These talks between the State Negotiating Team (SNT) and Twinza produced a deal that, according to Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua was ‘the best by far in terms of petroleum development in the country’.

A formal agreement had not been signed for the project located ninety-five km south of Gulf and one hundred metres below the surface. A company representative said that a final investment decision would be made in 2022 with the first production predicted for 2025.

The Prime Minister, the Hon. James Marape, announced on 13 July 2021 that negotiations had concluded, with an initialling of the agreement scheduled for 19 July and for signing on 29 July 2021.

However, in a statement released on 9 August 2021, Twinza Oil said ‘After a month of silence, the SNT Chairman returned an extensive mark-up of the agreement late on the 6 August. This document bears no resemblance to the agreement of the 6 July 2021, containing over 2,400 changes in only seventy-six pages, and is essentially a new agreement which was provided with endorsement of SNT, State Solicitor and Minister Kua. The agreement would be unacceptable to any investor and introduces new fiscal terms and inexplicable new conditions, several associated with Kumul Petroleum, that would make the Pasca A Project, or indeed any project in PNG, non-commercial and influenceable.’

PNG Business News, No. 2, 2021 https://www.twinzaoil.com

 

Mining in the News

This report by Elizabeth Beattie for Nikkei Asia on 24 August 2021 describes the continuing debate in Papua New Guinea about the role of mining, its contribution to development and its impact on the environment and social wellbeing. 

It features the recent decision of the PNG government to reverse its efforts to stop Canadian Barrick Gold and Chinese partner Zijin Mining from running the Porgera gold mine in the highlands. Under a renewed deal, the PNG government has taken a majority stake in the joint venture.

The World Bank, meanwhile, says resolving friction over mining is crucial for the country’s economic recovery.

Last year, nearly 8,000 people, backed by their provincial government, sued the Chinese-owned Ramu NiCo mine after toxic slurry leaked into the nearby Basamuk Bay. The company’s vice-president, Wang Baowen, was quoted by Australian public broadcaster ABC shortly afterward as promising ‘to address any compensation’ arising from investigations.

The report also discusses the proposed Frieda River mine, which is expected to yield gold, silver and copper worth an estimated $1.5 billion a year for more than thirty years. This huge operation will affect 16,000 ha of land in the upper Sepik region. PanAust, an Australian-registered company taken over by Guangdong Rising Assets Management in 2015, is working to secure an operating permit. 

The Frieda mine has met provincial resistance, with the East Sepik Assembly voting against it last year. In July 2020, ten UN special rapporteurs expressed concern that ‘the project and its implementation so far appears to disregard the human rights of those affected’.

Frieda mine supporters are ‘very much engaging with the idea that it will bring development’ and employment, as well as much-needed infrastructure like electricity and roads.

The debate about the place of mining in PNG’s economy is happening against a background in which the products of mining already account for the majority of PNG’s export income.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Asia-Insight/China-backed-mining-deepens-Papua-New-Guinea-s-golden-dilemma

 

Telstra to Buy Digicel Pacific?

On 19 July 2021 Reuters reported that Telstra Corp Ltd was in talks to buy the Pacific operations of telecommunications firm, Digicel Group, with financial assistance from the Australian Government. There has been speculation about the future of Digicel Pacific for some time. The company has previously denied a report that it was considering a sale of its Pacific business to a Chinese company.

Digicel, founded by Irish billionaire, Denis O’Brien, has a dominant market share in Papua New Guinea and uses a submarine cable from Sydney that was constructed with funding from the Australian Government to expand data services there.

https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/telstra-talks-buy-digicel-pacific-with-australian-government-help-2021-07-18/

On 3 August the Irish Times had a report on a statement by Telstra’s CEO about the proposed deal quoting him as saying ‘Digicel is a very attractive and successful business in the Pacific region and we are having those discussions with government at the moment. We would only do it if we believed it was in the best interests of our shareholders.’

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/digicel-pacific-a-very-attractive-asset-says-telstra-chief-1.4638076

Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea’s telecommunications minister, Timothy Masiu, has warned that his government must be involved in any sale of its largest mobile phone network operator to Telstra and the Australian Government.

https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-affairs/png-flexes-muscle-on-digicel-deal-with-telstra-20210730-p58eia

 

Investigation into Panguna Mine

Nick Toscano writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on 21 July 2021, reported that mining company, Rio Tinto, had reached a deal with Bougainville residents to fund an investigation into the damage to the environment and human rights violations resulting from the Panguna copper mine operated by Bougainville Copper on the island.

Mining operations ceased in 1989 after the civil war erupted. In 2016 Rio Tinto cut ties with Bougainville Copper, giving its fifty-three per cent stake to Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government. During its operation, Panguna was of the world’s largest copper and gold mines and accounted for forty-five per cent of PNG’s exports.

Last year Bougainville community members were supported by the Human Rights Law Centre in Melbourne in launching a complaint with the Australian OECD Contact Point, a division of Australia’s Federal Treasury with the power to investigate Australian companies operating overseas. 

Rio Tinto, the Human Rights Law Centre and community stakeholders issued a joint announcement on 27 July 2021 that Rio would fund an inde-pendent assessment to identify environmental and human rights impacts and risks posed by the abandoned mine and to develop recommendations to address them. A joint committee of stakeholders would be formed to oversee the assessment, Rio Tinto said.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/hope-for-new-chapter-rio-tinto-vows-to-assess-abandoned-mine-pollution-20210721-p58bm7.html

 

COVID-19 News in Papua New Guinea

The latest report from WHO (27 August 2021) revealed that there had been a total of 17,786 cases of COVID-19 infection in PNG resulting in 192 deaths. An estimated 142,192 doses of vaccine had been administered to a population of about 8.5 million. 

https://covid19.who.int/region/wpro/country/pg

The World Bank has approved an additional US$30 million (approximately PGK70m) in funding for Papua New Guinea (PNG) to provide extra support for the country’s COVID-19 response.

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/06/25/us-30m-boost-for-png-s-covid-19-response

Chinese Vaccines

In a recent broadcast Voice of America reported that Chinese state-owned media has claimed that Australian consultants in Papua New Guinea have been hindering the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines flown in from China. It was alleged that they had engaged ‘in political manipulation and bullying’ there.

Australia has strongly denied claims it has tried to sabotage China’s efforts to boost vaccinations in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea is currently using the AstraZeneca vaccine. Two hundred thousand doses of the Sinopharm vaccine have recently been flown in from China, but have yet to be approved for use by local authorities.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson warned Australia to ‘stop interfering with and undermining vaccine cooperation between China and Pacific Island countries’.

Australia’s minister for the Pacific, Zed Seselja, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation all international assistance is welcome.

‘When it comes to the rollout, what we are focused on is making sure that we are providing as much assistance as we possibly can,’ Seselja said. ‘If other countries want to provide assistance that is wonderful.’

Australia has pledged to ship 10,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Papua New Guinea every week, along with medical support. It has also promised to donate tens of thousands of additional doses to other Pacific nations.

Papua New Guinean health officials are trying to stay out of any diplomatic arguments between Australia and China. They have said they are not concerned about where their coronavirus vaccines come from, but just want sufficient supplies to protect the country’s population.

https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/china-accuses-australia-meddling-papua-new-guinea-vaccination-efforts 

 

Australian Citizen, Born in Papua, Refused Passport Renewal

Stefan Armbruster, of television broadcaster SBS, had a report on 1 August 2021 about a citizenship case of interest to those with children born in Papua New Guinea, and to anyone concerned about how the Department of Immigration is administered. 

He described what happened to Troyrone (Troy) Zen Lee who applied to renew his Australian passport only to be told he was not Australian.

Born in pre-independence Papua New Guinea (PNG) to parents who were naturalised Australians he was a victim of the Department of Home Affairs’ stubborn misinterpretation of the Citizenship Act. They said he ceased to be an Australian when PNG gained independence from Australia in September 1975. However, he was born in Port Moresby in May 1975, months before independence.

A letter from Peter Dutton, the Immigration Minister, in 2017 confirmed the department’s position—that Troy, who had held an Australian passport for decades, was Papua New Guinean. Troy lost his job overseas as he stayed in Australia to challenge the department’s decision in the courts. He was advised by citizenship law specialist, Professor Kim Rubenstein of University of Canberra. The Federal Court decided that Troy was an Australian citizen but the department appealed that decision.

The Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed the appeal in May and ruled that Troy is Australian and that the minister and department made ‘mistakes’.

Professor Rubenstein told SBS that ‘the court decision becomes the legal precedent, the law interpreting that aspect of Australian citizenship for those born in Papua pre-independence, and the department should be notifying the outcome to those individuals whose cases they are reviewing’.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/when-troy-went-to-renew-his-australian-passport-he-was-told-he-wasn-t-a-citizen-this-is-what-happened-next/b11531ba-4c64-43aa-a558-719594ee1acd

Editor’s Note: I contacted Professor Rubenstein and she provided these answers to my questions:

In what way did the Department misinterpret the Citizenship Act?

In believing that Troy, as a child of naturalised Australian citizens living in PNG (with a grandparent also born there) was NOT an Australian citizen as they felt he did not have a right of residence by virtue of his parents’ naturalisation…

Is there a need for a change in the Citizenship Act to avoid similar misinterpretations in the future?

Not really as this interpretation affirms Troy never lost his citizenship.

If people born in what is now Papua New Guinea are not sure of their rights or legal position, what can they do?

Good question—perhaps approach the Commonwealth Ombudsman to explain they are not confident in going to the Department and perhaps the Ombudsman could assist them in working out how to approach the Department—also going to lawyers like those who represented Troy.

I also contacted Stefan Armbruster asking him to comment on the public response to his broadcast. An extract from his reply follows:

Troy Lee’s battle for his Australian citizenship against Home Affairs has been an extraordinary and bruising journey. The full bench of the Federal Court finally ruled in May it was due to ‘mistakes’ made by Home Affairs and successive ministers interpreting legislation and regulations. 

Unfortunately, his is not an isolated case. The response to this report for SBS News has been quite overwhelming. Dozens and dozens of emails tell of people being ‘treated like criminals’, threatened with deportation, left stateless, and of years of people’s lives lost, living in fear, often separated from family with careers and businesses stalled. 

In many cases Home Affairs eventually relented and reinstated their citizenship, but people report that it was with little assistance or co-operation from the department. Many say they were ignored and obstructed. As Troy’s barrister, Kim Rubenstein, said, the department has increasingly taken the position of ‘exclusion rather than inclusion, and that is not consistent with the objectives of the Act.’ 

The outcome of Troy’s case now becomes law, as the government didn’t pursue it to the High Court, but when asked if the Minister Hawke recognises the judgement, the response was he is ‘considering the implications’.

 

  • PNG KUNDU, September 2021

 

A Casino for Port Moresby

Quoting a story in the Post-Courier of 31 May 2021, PNG Business News featured the announcement that a new multi-million kina casino would be built in Port Moresby to encourage tourists and stimulate other economic activity. The establishment of a casino accorded with the Marape-Basil government’s Special Economic Zone concept it said.

An agreement was signed at the Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby by the National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) chairman Clemence Kanau and Paga Hill Development Corporation (PHDC) chief executive officer, Gudmundur Fridriksson, to clear the way for the development of a 150-million-kina entertainment complex. 

Apart from Port Moresby’s first casino the entertainment development would include a hotel, restaurants, theatres and retail outlets.

Mr Fridriksson stated that the NGCB will introduce lottery, bingo, online betting, and other gaming activities in order to increase income and stimulate economic activity, employment, and other prospects. ‘The casino will focus on cruise ship passengers, tourists, foreigners and the well-to-do population,’ he said. 

 

Determination Wins the Day!

PNG Attitude has described how an author from PNG, Gerard Ivalaoa, has written a book on his telephone and had it published.

A man of Gulf parentage living on the outskirts of Port Moresby in a house without power, he had to recharge his phone at a friend’s house or pay one kina at a trade store. The book is about the importance of education and entitled 70 Reminders of Academic Excellence. He said he wanted to inspire students to give their best efforts academically.

Digicel PNG was impressed by the young author’s determination to write and be published and presented him with a new Dell laptop and Samsung smartphone. They arranged for sixty copies of his book to be distributed to schools supported by the Digicel Foundation. The senior vice president of Digicel, Lorna McPherson, said that education was a core investment of their Foundation. Gerard intends to continue writing.

http://www.digicelfoundation.org/png/en/home.html

https://www.pngattitude.com/2021/04/he-had-a-phone-he-wrote-a-book.html#more

 

Lowy Institute Webinar

On 19 May 2021 the Lowy Institute conducted a webinar on the challenges of misinformation about COVID-19 being published on social media in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The participants, moderated by Shane McLeod, were Joys Eggins and Dr Prashanth Pillay from ABC’s Media Development Initiative, Belinda Kora of the Media Council of PNG and Dr Garry Nou from the PNG National Control Centre for the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

The ABC team analysed 36,931 social media posts trying to establish the predominant themes among these posts. They found a number of ideas being repeated: that PNG was being used as an experimental site for AstraZeneka vaccines, that major institutions including the churches and mainstream media were doing as they were told by the government and were, in effect, part of a conspiracy. Overall, there was distrust of major institutions, including WHO. 

Dr Nou confirmed that people in PNG that he had surveyed were repeating the mistaken ideas identified by the ABC team. He talked about some concerns he and his colleagues felt for their security when they spoke publicly in favour of vaccination but insisted that it was essential that medical authorities continued to speak publicly and positively about the benefits of vaccination.

Belinda Kora, an experienced journalist in PNG, told the panel of the challenges faced by mainstream media is getting accurate information about both the disease and its prevention and lamented the scarcity of accurate and authoritative sources for their stories. There was a responsibility, too, to avoid basing stories on the misinformation on social media.

Access the webinar at:

‘Infodemic’ – Social Media Misinformation and Covid-19 in Papua New Guinea | Aus-PNG Network – YouTube

 

Maseratis for Sale 

People in Papua New Guinea are outraged after the country’s Finance Minister revealed that most of the luxury vehicles, forty Maseratis and three Bentleys, bought for the APEC summit in 2018, have still not been sold. 

Non-government organisations have slammed the government for wasting millions of dollars on the meeting, including the purchase of forty luxury Maserati vehicles, with only two having been sold.

Mr Pundari said in a statement that PNG was still paying the cost of hosting the meeting of leaders from twenty-one countries in the Asia Pacific region. He revealed that two Maseratis and one Bentley had been sold, generating K1.6 million (AU$590,000). Mr Pundari said that the remaining luxury cars have been re-tendered for domestic and international buyers.

Later Mr Pindari told local media that the remaining Maseratis would be sent to the country’s overseas missions upon their requests, while the rest will be given over to a contracted local firm to maintain for major events.

Susan Setae, who heads an NGO that supports women who are victims of violence, said that the decision of Peter O’Neill’s government to buy the luxury cars was irresponsible. She said the money should have been spent on supporting women to get into parliament, as well as on health and education.

Ruth Kissam, a leading human rights activist, believes the hosting of the 2018 APEC summit was a waste of public money and she claims it has produced very few results for the people of PNG. ‘We know that a huge amount of money was going to be spent in rural electrification in Papua New Guinea, from some of the partners … but apart from that, what did we get out of that?’ she asked.

An agreement for a multi-million-dollar rural electrification program, with funding from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, was signed at the APEC meeting.

https://www.abc.net.au/radio-australia/programs/pacificbeat/pngs-maseratis-for-2018-apec-summit-still-not-sold/13423194 

 

Queen’s Birthday Honours List

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List included the award of the medal of the Order of Australia (AM) to Stephanie Copus-Campbell (below left). The award was in recognition of Stephanie’s significant contribution to aid and development work in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

From 2009 to 2011 Stephanie was the head of Australia’s aid program in PNG. She is now the executive director of the PNG Oil Search Foundation that has annual programs dealing with health, education, leadership and the protection and empowerment of women. In PNG she is member of a number of provincial health advisory boards, is a director of the Harold Mitchell Foundation Board and Femili PNG Board and is a member of Bel isi PNG Steering Committee.

Image from https://www.oilsearch.com/how-we-work/sustainable-development/oil-search-foundation

 

Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is a relatively new online site created in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to provide a platform for expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in all aspects of art and culture. It is open to citizens of PNG. This platform had its origin in the initiative of Keith Jackson and Friends PNG Attitude (https://asopa.typepad.com/) on which site Papua New Guinean writers had the opportunity to publish their material. The difference now is that the blog is run by volunteer Papua New Guineans for their own artists. 

An example of their initiative is the recent announcement of a prize for a biographical story about PNG before independence. The prize is in honour of the late Cr Kurai Tapus of Kaiap village, Wabag.

PNGAA congratulates the publishers of Ples Singsing and anticipates publishing and reviewing material from the site in the future.

https://plessingsing.com/about/home/about/—https://plessingsing.com/2021/05/01/announcing-the-paul-kurai-memorial-awards-for-biographical-short-stories/

 

Trans-Island Highway Announced 

The government’s Connect PNG project seeks to divide the nation’s twenty-year National Road Network Strategy into a series of five-year projects that will result in a more connected nation. David Wereh, Secretary of the Department of Works and Implementation, said that the first of these would be the Trans-Island Highway. This would start from Nine Mile Junction near Lae and finish in Malalaua in the Gulf Province. Existing roads would be upgraded to two lanes of new road, 302 km long.

The ambitious project, when completed, would mean that driving between Lae and Port Moresby would be possible for the first time. 

According to Business News, 4 May 2021, the Australian Government will contribute K190 million to the Trans-Island Highway component of the Connect PNG project. Australia will contribute $70 million (K170 million) on favourable terms, including a grant portion, and PNG will contribute K16 million, or just under one-tenth of the total cost. Additional funding will be provided by the Asian Development Bank.

https://www.businessadvantagepng.com/economic-lifelines-connect-png-outlines-key-road-projects-to-help-boost-papua-new-guineas-covid-recovery/

https://www.businessadvantagepng.com/economic-lifelines-connect-png-outlines-key-road-projects-to-help-boost-papua-new-guineas-covid-recovery/

 

Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) Initiatives for COVID Prevention in PNG

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic KTF responded immediately and urgently with the design and delivery of Project Airborne. Project Airborne aims to prepare communities to deal with COVID-19 through education and awareness of health and hygiene methods including handwashing, social distancing, mask wearing and healthy lifestyles. In 2020, Project Airborne worked with all KTF communities in the Kokoda Track catchment region across the Oro and Central Provinces, particularly focusing on schools, colleges and health facilities. 

They delivered: 11,000 water sanitation and hygiene kits to communities, schools and health facilities including tanks, tippy taps, soap, sanitisers and disinfectants; 12,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to frontline healthcare workers, teachers and college staff.

They provided 78,000 people in KTF programs with COVID-19 education of awareness campaigns.  

In 2021, KTF is preparing for a large-scale Project Airborne roll-out across New Ireland Province, and to continue support for the Oro and Central provinces and all of KTF’s physical project locations across the country.

KTF Annual Report: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5bea4ca150a54fcc72890ee8/t/6062b40dae23eb39d51e9a8a/161708144707

 

COVID Situation in PNG—30 June 2021

WHO has reported that, so far, there have been 17,190 cases of COVID-19 infection reported in Papua New Guinea (PNG). These infections have resulted in 174 deaths. This death rate, about 1%, is similar to that reported in other countries. 51,170 doses of vaccine had been administered by 30 June. This represents about 0.6% of the population.

https://covid19.who.int/region/wpro/country/pg

 

COVID and Sorcery

An ABC news story filed by PNG correspondent Natalie Whiting in Port Moresby and Bethanie Harriman has described an increase in violence and deaths in PNG associated with sanguma or sorcery.

While many parts of PNG have a long history of belief in sorcery, authorities are concerned that many recent killings have occurred in regions where that belief was not common. For example, a man was killed by a mob in Daru recently after being accused of using sorcery.

‘Sorcery-related killing is unheard of in Daru Town,’ Daru Police Commander, Inspector Soiwa Ricker, told The National, a local newspaper.

There are also concerns that deaths related to COVID-19 could lead to an increase in sorcery accusations—one such case has already been recorded. This involved a community health worker in Goroka who contracted COVID-19 and died at home earlier this year.

‘His family’s tribe said the man’s wife used sorcery to kill her husband, so the community abducted the woman and tortured her,’ local MP Aiya Tambua said. Before police could intervene the woman was thrown from a bridge. She survived but while the woman was in hospital her daughter was also attacked and had to be rescued by police. Both mother and daughter also contracted COVID-19.

Ms Kissam, who works with the NGO, The Tribal Foundation, said that COVID-19 was a potential ‘time bomb’ for sorcery-related violence in PNG.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-26/coronavirus-a-time-bomb-in-png-amid-sorcery-allegations/100227350

 

Mission Aviation Fellowship Celebrates Seventieth Anniversary

A PNG Buzz story reproduced by PNG Attitude on 14 May 2021 described the first flight in 1951 of an aircraft of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). The pilot was Harry Hartwig, a veteran of World War II bomber anti-submarine operations. MAF had its origins in a meeting three years earlier in Melbourne, at which returned Christian airmen looked for a means of using their flying skills.

In the few months after his first flight Hartwig logged many hours of flying to airstrips in isolated parts of the country. Tragically, his career ended in a fatal crash near the Asaroka Gap in August 1951.

Seventy years later MAF is the longest-established airline operator in PNG with 100 national and forty international staff in eleven bases, and partners with local church groups, missionaries, NGOs, development and relief agencies and government departments working to change the lives of people living in remote areas.

 

COVID-19 and the Torres Strait

In a story in Sydney Morning Herald on 12 June 2021, Anthony Galloway described the changes that have happened in the Torres Strait since the border was closed in March 2020. Before the COVID-19 pandemic about 15,000 cross border movements happened each year.

This mostly came to a halt when both countries suspended their Torres Strait treaty in order to help prevent the infection of the Torres Strait population. Australian Border Force and Defence personnel were then deployed on Operation Overarch to stop the arrival of PNG nationals. Even so, between April and December last year, there were 115 cross border movements.

Since the resurgence of COVID-19 in PNG in March, Border Force and Defence signif-
icantly boosted the number of vessels patrolling the northern Torres Strait islands of Saibai, Boigu and Dauan. As a consequence, the number of arrivals has decreased to roughly one a week in recent months. Generally, the policy is to direct incoming boats to return. However, if passengers need medical attention they may proceed to Saibai for treatment. To help reduce these medical arrivals the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has assisted the PNG government to establish a clinic at Mabaduan, one of the PNG villages closest to the border. This reduces the need for some Papua New Guineans to travel to Daru for medical treatment and vaccination.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/how-the-torres-strait-has-become-a-covid-front-line-20210610-p57zxu.html 

 

Teachers Trekked from Tapini to Port Moresby to Deliver Exam Papers 

A group of teachers from the remote Sacred Heart Secondary School in Tapini, PNG, have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure their students’ exam papers made it to the capital, Port Moresby, for marking. 

After a charter plane failed to arrive to pick up the papers, the eight teachers trekked for two days and a night from Tapini, which is at the base of the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges. Among the group is a first-year teacher, Raphael Amato, who said they decided to undertake the arduous walk to ensure their students’ hard work was not wasted. ‘The principal told us: No we cannot wait because the lives of our students are in our hands.’

Community in PNG Grateful to Police for Not Accepting K100,000 Bribe 

A 40-year-old doctor and two others were recently charged with the murder of the doctor’s wife, Imelda Tubi Tiamanda, near Mt Hagen.

Magistrate Leonard Mesmin read out the charges to Imelda’s husband, Dr Simon Temo, Paul Ken 27, and Nombe Kasu, 42, from the Mendi area. They were remanded at Baisu Prison in Mt Hagen. No bail was granted.

Police alleged that Imelda, a University of Goroka student, was picked up by Temo on 8 May 2021 at the university and taken to Mendi where an argument erupted and Imelda was assaulted. Her body was allegedly kept at their home in Mendi until driven to Mt Hagen. Police at a checkpoint became suspicious and discovered Imelda’s body in the back of the vehicle.

Comments on Facebook praise the PNG police officers who showed honesty and integrity by not accepting the K100,000 bribe allegedly offered.

https://www.thenational.com.pg/3-charged-with-murder/

https://www.abc.net.au/radio-australia/programs/pacificbeat/png-teachers-trek-to-deliver-exam-papers/13404176 

 

Haus Pikinini Receives Much-Needed Grant 

Haus Pikinini, a home run by Donna Harvey-Hall for disadvantaged children in Wau, was recently visited by Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, with many other senior government ministers and officials, and accompanied by the Australian High Commissioner. 

Haus Pikinini was delighted to have received a pledge of K100,000 from the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Samuel Basil, which will enable some maintenance, as well as completion of an ablutions block. PNG Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, gave a donation of K5000 followed by an additional cash donation of K5000 by Sam Basil to top up housekeeping at Haus Pikinini.

Donna tells us that Wau is now four hours’ drive from a supermarket! Donna’s achievements with Haus Pikinini are greatly admired and it is wonderful to see this recognition for her tireless work.

https://www.facebook.com/donna.harveyhall/posts/1457546831244656

 

PNG Man in Queensland Reds Team

Zane Nonggorr, a twenty-year-old Papua New Guinean (left), has played for the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby competition since 2020. This year he was selected as a front row forward in the team playing the Brumbies in the grand final in Brisbane on 8 May 2021. The Reds won 19 to 16.

https://reds.rugby/players/reds/zane%20nonggorr 

 

DC3 Perched Outside Air Niugini Haus   

The Air Niugini engineering team are currently giving a facelift to the old DC3 aircraft perched on display outside Air Niugini Haus Head Office at 7-Mile in Port Moresby. The aircraft was named after a well-known and highly respected pilot, Larry Blackman, who commanded that aircraft for many of the 17,000 hours that he flew Air Niugini’s DC3s. 

The plane was mounted to its final resting place at 7-Mile on 23 November 1979, by the then Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Paias Wingti.

https://www.facebook.com/destinationsairniugini/posts/4155275247845023

Roy

Worked for Burns Philp in Popondetta and Port Moresby from 1980 through 1987

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