From the President
With 2023 now well and truly underway, I thought that this quarter I would make some general observations about the economic challenges that face Papua New Guinea (PNG), some 47 years after Independence.
In 2022, PNG held its 10th national elections, described by some as the worst since elections were first held in 1977, due to inadequate preparation, violence and poor organisation. These elections made history by returning 64 percent of incumbent MPs to parliament when normally only about 50 percent are returned.
The Government projects that PNG’s economy will grow by 4.0 percent in 2023 after doing poorly in 2021 due primarily to COVID 19. The 2023 budget, announced in November, increased government expenditure by more than 10 percent leading to a deficit of 5.4 percent of GDP. PNG has benefitted from the war in Ukraine with higher petroleum prices resulting in a windfall in petroleum and mining tax revenues.
According to its own legislation, the Government should save a significant part of this windfall in its Sovereign Wealth Fund, however in the 2023 budget the government decided to fully allocate the extra resource revenues to increased investments and further household relief.
The 2022 elections were the fourth in a row in which the incumbent Prime Minister was returned. This success only adds to the pressure on them since a vote of no confidence has become the only way to change prime ministers in PNG.
Marape will have his work cut out for him manoeuvring politics in late 2023, when the 18-month grace period in which a no-confidence vote cannot be held nears its end. PNG’s fluidity of political alliances will then come to the fore and the inevitable jostling for a vote of no-confidence will begin.
So, PNG continues to make some progress and hopefully the run up to the next elections in 2027 will see more progress in PNG’s growth and development.
PNGAA Scholarship Fund
The PNGAA continues to look for more ways to interact with the people of PNG. We intend to increase our Scholarship Fund to enable us to provide assistance to more secondary school students. We are looking at how we can increase our membership by offering corporate membership to interested companies and, as always, we welcome suggestions from PNGAA members.
Welcome to New Members
Listed below are our new members, the most we have recorded in one quarter for some time. I extend a warm welcome to all and ask all members, new and old, to help PNGAA achieve its objectives.
Scott Ashby, Margaret Challis, Rebecca Conway, Stephen Foley, Donald Grant, Erica Hartig, Glenn Henke, Stephen Hull, Laura Keating, Ian MacLeod, Richard Nye, Noel Pascoe, Au Oba-Seseta, Kevin Shorthouse, Peter Smith, Frederick Thomas, Christopher Thorpe, Louise Trott, John Vandenberg, Peta Warhurst, Michael Wheeler, Bruce Willis, Ian Willis, Cathy Witt and John Woods.
I am pleased to let readers know that, after the request in PNG Kundu of December 2022 for the donation of a patrol box to our collection, we have had two offers—one from Max Hayes and another from Myra Macey. Max’s box is now in our collection.
Max served first in the Royal Australian Air Force in Korea and was appointed to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary in June 1959. He began his career as a policeman as a Sub-Inspector, a commissioned rank. The then Commissioner, Christopher Normoyle, told him ‘to watch what the other officers do and study the Territory laws’.
He served at Rabaul, Sohano, Kainantu, Goroka, Mt Hagen, Lae (OIC Police Station) and finally at Police Headquarters, Konedobu when in 1974, with other officers, he was retrenched as PNG moved toward Independence in 1975. He finished his service at the rank of Acting Superintendent.
While in Rabaul (1959–66) and with several armed native police he had to attend and investigate a series of plantation riots (largely over the scale of rations and the issue of brown rice) and camped in situ until the nearest patrol officer heard the charges and dealt with them. While at Kainantu he investigated several sorcery murders in distant villages, and camped with his native police, rations, kerosene lamps and his patrol box.
Max’s patrol box was made by Rabaul Metal Industries, Malaguna Road, Rabaul and impressed RMI.
As a special bonus Max also donated CAW Monckton’s book, Taming New Guinea—Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate, Dodd Mead and Company, New York, 1922.
On behalf of PNGAA, I thank Max for his generosity.
The patrol box offered by Myra Macey (author of Gemo, My Island in the Sun) is in Tasmania and was given to Myra by Dr Douglas Russell who used it in his vaccine work all over PNG.
This box would also be a valuable addition to our collection if we could get it to Sydney. If you can help in getting it there, please contact me.
There is another book the association would like to have in the collection. It is: End of the Line – A History of Railways in Papua New Guinea, written by Bob McKillop & Michael Pearson, UPNG Press 1997.
If anyone has a copy of this book they no longer need, its donation to the PNGAA Collection would be most welcome.
Mob: 0438 636 132
Volunteers for the PNGAA Management Committee Needed!!
The nomination deadline has passed for the AGM and committee positions still remain available. PNGAA needs more volunteers to commit to help the PNGAA before (or during) the AGM on 29 April 2023. This needs your consideration, now.
The election of office bearers takes place at the Annual General Meeting every second year.
An email went out from Chris Pearsall, President of PNGAA, on 9 January 2023 requesting volunteers for the PNGAA Management Committee. This was supported by information on the website and on social media.
PNGAA urgently needs volunteers for:
PNGAA Treasurer: Our current Treasurer, Murrough Benson, has been on the committee for seven years now and needs to step back from this role. Murrough is happy to speak with anyone interested. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a role which interacts with membership. We hope that some wonderful volunteer will realise the value of this role and commit to volunteering their skills.
PNGAA Secretary: This is another important administrative role that keeps this volunteer team travelling in the right direction. Computer skills help enormously! The PNGAA Secretary assists with committee meetings, links members and fields other enquiries.
PNGAA Events Co-ordinator: PNGAA urgently needs an enthusiastic organiser who is happy to manage events and liaise with event co-ordinators in other states.
Again, it helps to have computer skills to advertise events on our social media—you CAN easily be trained with social media input!
Website and marketing assistance:
PNGAA needs people with some IT knowledge to help with the website and social media to ensure these areas are dynamic and evolving, with current information. Assistance in writing up news and events or communicating the wide activities of the committee and association regularly, would help the association to grow.
Hop in and get to know how the association works so you can help to grow the association and maintain our special history!
PNGAA is run by a voluntary management committee – it works together with the members
If you are passionate about your connection with PNG and Australia, please ensure others continue to understand and share the wonderful relationship so many have experienced. It helps having additional support through teams of working groups too, so if you can help share a skill with anything, please volunteer!
Committee members need to be paid up current members of the association and to be able to work both independently and as part of a team. Communication within the team is important as is understanding the PNGAA ‘rules’ (focus and guidelines) which are located at https://pngaa.org/rules-of-the-pngaa/
Whilst some roles have broad job descriptions, pitching in and helping where possible is always appreciated.
The PNGAA is an important link in the Australia/PNG relationship.
Can you help? Do you know someone, or even a couple of people, who could share their expertise?
Please contact Chris Pearsall, President, on email email@example.com or mobile 0410 530 502.
Remember that the PNGAA can only function and survive through the efforts of its members.