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Opening Address to Parliament – Prime Minister Peter O’Neill

Address to Parliament by

Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP

Prime Minister 


22 August 2017

Mr. Speaker,
I thank His Excellency, the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, for his opening address to this Honourable House this morning.

Mr. Speaker,
Please allow me to express the Government’s appreciation on this occasion, and at the same time Mr. Speaker, to take this opportunity to welcome all Members of Parliament on both sides of the House. 
Our people have placed their trust in all of us to represent them in this House so we can continue to stand-up for the interests of our great Nation.
Now is the time to be united behind this common trust that our people have place in us.
Now is a time to put aside personality politics.
It is a time to debate policy and ideas that will advance the interests of all Papua New Guineans.
As a Government, we will continue to build on the foundations that we laid over the past five years.
We went to elections with a core set of policies, and the voters embraced these policies.
Working with our coalition partners in Alotau, we have further strengthened these policies, and this going to be is the agenda that we bring to this Parliament.
We have the mandate of the people, and we will honour this mandate given to us through our words and through our actions.

ECONOMIC FOUNDATIONS
As a Government we must maintain focus on strengthening our economic foundations of our Nation.
We will review the revenue that our Government currently generates.
Through this process we will identify areas where we are not reaching our true potential, and to increase these revenue streams.
This will involve the development of a comprehensive Medium-Term Revenue Strategy to stimulate revenue-led growth for our economy.

REVENUE AND DEBT REVIEW
Alongside this assessment of revenue, we will undertake a very comprehensive review of expenditure and our debt management strategy.
We acknowledge that debt is an essential part of life for Government and business alike. 
We must continue to think long-term and continue to apply sensible debt management.
Our economy is in a strong position compared to similar economies around the world, and we will continue to review this position and make positive change.

EXPANDING ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION
An important element in facilitating true economic growth is sharing the gains so that all people benefit.
Our Government, working with our agencies of Government and international partners, will expand the delivery of economic inclusion programs.
We will continue to increase financial literacy and access to credit in the formal economy.

SME DEVELOPMENT
Over the last 40 years, one key business short-falls has been our country’s ability to grow the SME Sector.
While we are open to inviting more foreign direct investment, we need there to be a more level playing field especially in the SME sector.
We are delivering a comprehensive strategy that will grow this sector into the future.

RESOURCES PROJECTS
When it comes to large-scale projects, global companies continue to maintain the highest level of confidence in our oil, gas and mineral sectors.
We are working with TOTAL from France, ExxonMobil from the United States, Oil Search and other companies so that we can develop the next level of LNG production in our country.
At the same time, we know that our value-add strategy coming from this is one that we must advance so that our people and our country continue to benefit more.
We will advance plans to establish a petrochemicals industry in our country over the coming years.

LAND OWNERSHIP
We also need to work harder so that we can continue to support land ownership and equitable benefit sharing that our people are demanding.
We want to ensure that traditional owners can truly benefit from the resources that they and their communities have possessed for thousands of years.
To this end, we are committed to a review on ownership rights of resources in our country.

FORESTRY
Our forestry sector is another resource where we can value-add.
For far too long, Governments have had a less than transparent visibility of this industry where a blind-eye has been turned to issues blatantly before Government.
In this term of Government we will legislate for sustainable forestry development, and we will continue to increase landowner participation in this industry.

TOURISM
A further area of great potential for our people is tourism in this country.
There is so much that we have to offer the world tourism market, and to offer to our own domestic tourist market.
We must strengthen tourism infrastructure, this includes not only building hotels, but other infrastructure like sea ports and air ports.
As agreed in the Second Alotau Accord, we will promote and establish associated infrastructure for the tourism Hubs in our country.

INFRASTRUCTURE
The economy of our nation can only move forward if we have the right infrastructure in place.
Over recent decades, infrastructure has been left to ruin, and has not kept pace with a growing population.
Through the Second Alotau Accord, we have committed to opening up missing links, especially road and bridge links between many of the isolated communities right throughout the country.
We are determined to bring other infrastructure such as power and telecommunications, and make them cheaper.

LAW AND ORDER
Over recent decades, Papua New Guinea has suffered from a negative reputation because of Law and Order issues.
Through the policy initiatives of the Second Alotau Accord, we will create safer and more secure communities.
Our Government is committed to continuing the recruitment of well-disciplined police men and woman, and also other disciplined forces, and equipping them properly so that the can do a fair job.
We will also review legislation that governs all of our disciplined services, to ensure far better accountability so that there is far better command and control structures in place.
Today, in many parts of the country the judiciary and legal system are also gaining access to better infrastructure.
At the same time, our judiciary and legal infrastructure will continued to be enhanced and updated.

EDUCATION
Free education for our children has certainly changed the Nation and launched a new path for many Papua New Guineans.
Over the past five years we have placed more than one million additional children in school.
The first five years of free education has come with a lot of challenges, we are the first to admit this.
Our clear focus now is on improving the quality of education for all of our children.
We also need to keep increasing the number of Papua New Guineans who are getting trade qualifications, as well as expanding their academic qualifications through universities.
We are committed to establishing of an Education Endowment Fund that will further enhance quality education being delivered throughout our country.

HEALTHCARE
Providing healthcare to remote and rural areas remains a core Government policy.
Access to hospital care should not be restricted to urban areas only, and in this term of Government, we will continue to build and rehabilitate district and provincial hospitals.
We will continue to work with churches, NGOS and partner Governments, to strengthen our healthcare services.
We will subsidise specialised healthcare, and we will improve the collation and use of health data and wellbeing indicators. 

POPULATION
We really do not know how many people live in our country.
We have estimates, but these are not accurate enough.
We need to re-establish a National Data Collection Centre so that we can plan better and we can develop policies that better reflect the population distribution in our country.
Accurate population data is key for proper Public Policy planning and monitoring. 
We must aim to keep our economic growth above our population growth, and we can only do this by having access to reliable data so that we can monitor these very indicators as we move forward.

FOREIGN POLICY
We live in an ever-changing and globalising world, it is essential that we position ourselves to be a functional and respected global citizen.
We will continue to grow our trading opportunities and partnerships with many other countries within the region.
We will continue to build our multi-national relations that we already have.
Papua New Guinea is now the incoming host of APEC.
In November next year, the twenty Presidents and Prime Ministers of APEC’s other Member Economies will visit our country.
This is an opportunity to showcase our country to the world.
It is an opportunity to change the way the world views our country.
Papua New Guinea’s APEC will have very Pacific-style Hospitality along with world-class security arrangements.

CONCLUSION – POSITIVE FUTURE
We will continue to be a Government that Governs for all Papua New Guineans.
We must unite all of our people for the betterment of their lives and our country.
We will execute the mandate that has been entrusted to us with diligence and compassion.
We will work day-and-night to deliver the infrastructure and the services that will continue to strengthen our economy and our communities.
This is our pledge that our Government makes to our people.
We thank our Nation and this Honourable House for the mandate that has been bestowed upon us.
We will certainly not let you down, and we will deliver to your expectations.
God Bless Papua New Guinea.

Government to establish a Gold Bullion Bank

The Coalition Government of Papua New Guinea has agreed to setup a Gold Bullion Bank for Papua New Guinea in the Alotau Accord 2 Agreement that it’s MP’s signed in Alotau.

As Part of its promised for its people and to strengthen the National Economy and it’s local currency, the Alotau Accord 2 focus more on Economic Growth in the country.

The PNC led Government of O’Neill/Abel puts down-stream processing as its priority and the Gold Bullion Bank is its Top Agenda

Establish a gold bullion bank to address exchange rate challenges.

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We undertake to deliver the following priorities over the course of the next five (5) years:

Economic Growth – Revenue Generation, Debt management and expenditure review; economic participation and empowerment, ownership rights and equitable benefit sharing, and business focus

Infrastructure – Continue to develop and maintain key productive infrastructure assets including opening up missing road links and bridges, increasing communication access for rural areas, utilities upgrade (Water and Electricity), housing, air and sea ports;

Law & Order – create safer and secure communities, increase police numbers and discipline, strengthen all levels of courts including villages courts and official, complete rural lock ups and minimize prison breaks.

Education – Continue the Free Education Policy but focus more on increasing quality of teacher training, children learning and infrastructure development including classrooms.

Health – continue the free basic health care and subsidized specialized health care policy and improve health indicators.

Government secures K3 billion For Highlands Highway

June 13, 2017 – Post Courier 

THE National Government has already secured a K3 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank for the upgrading and maintenance of the Highlands Highway.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told a huge crowd in Kundiawa-Gembogl district in Chimbu Province last Wednesday, during the official groundbreaking ceremony of the K106 million, Asian Development Bank (ADB) – funded Gewa to Gembogl road maintenance.

Mr O’Neill said the Highlands Highway is the lifeline of the country, and his government will do everything to fix and maintain the road.

“We have already secured K3 billion from the Asian Development Bank, and we are now looking for contractors to start work in upgrading and maintaining the Highlands Highway,” he said.

Mr O’Neill said his Ialibu-Pangia people and huge projects are accessed through the Highlands Highway, and it is his and any other government’s priority to fix and maintain the Highlands Highway

“I have taken the K3 billion loan to fix the Highlands Highway, because securing a loan for development is the only approach to continue the steady developments in the country,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said K1 billion from the K3 billion will be spent on the Chimbu section of the Highlands Highway, which is badly deteriorated.

 Present with the Prime Minister during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Gewa to Gembogl road were Works Minister MP Francis Awesa, Works Secretary David Wereh, Education Minister and Gumine MP Nick Kuman and Kundiawa-Gembogl MP and Minister for Tourism Tobias Kulang.

New Fiber Optic Cable Option being Pursued for PNG

Post-Courier – Thursday, June 8, 2017
BY MELISHA YAFOI

PNG Data Co is now firming up on one of its two options to connect PNG to the world using a new submarine cable to be built.
Managing director Paul Komboi said that the government has now reviewed previously preferred options including ICN-2 and have now tasked DataCo to provide two options that will be able to connect PNG from Port Moresby to Australia.
Mr Komboi said they are now pursuing a new cable option from Port Moresby down to Sydney, Australia.
“We currently do have an optical fibre submarine connection called the “APNG-2” submarine cable from Port Moresby to Sydney, but it’s very limited in capacity, expensive and very unreliable so that’s the problem and we need to fix that problem.”
“Our APNG-2 Submarine cable down to Sydney will reach its end of life very soon I think another two years or so is left for its operation and service. We need to replace this APNG-2 submarine cable before the cable stops operating. I think basically, it’s a requirement for PNG to have a new optical fibre submarine cable with modernized and futuristic technology and capability given the dynamic nature of the ICT sector and industry.
“It’s a necessity now for the country to have a cable connecting us to the the worldwide information network to allow for accessibility to information, markets and knowledge. Reliable, a lot of capacity; that is what we need,” he said.
By building this new optical fibre submarine cable, we will introduce modernized communication technology, which will enable us to lower the pricing of data services, provide super high capacity and speed, as well as proven reliability and better service quality to meet the country’s current and future demand.”
He added that it is an important infrastructure like electicity and water, and the government’s plans and decision to invest in this high-capital modernized infrastructure is not being ambitious but rather necessary”.
“It is a necessity for the government to invest in such infrastructure and so, all we need to do now is manage them effectively and efficiently for the benefit of our people and the whole latest restructure e is about better managing those high-cpatial modernized infrastructure assets of the state and people..
“We have firmed up on one of our options. We are going into details discussions, negotiations and plans now such as the arrangements for who will be the actual vendor to supply and install the cable and also firming up on pre-sales of the capacity on who will be using the new fibre optic submarine cable. We are expecting by mid-June to end of June to be able to make some joint announcements with our partners to be able to launch this project officially,” he said.
Mr Komboi affirms that there’s also been positive response from Australia to assist them with the lending arrangements, adding that the appetite to have a new optical fibre submarine cable between Port Moresby and Sydney is there but they are looking at who they should partner with and under what structure and terms.
“There are some things we are still discussing and negotiating at the moment at the background, and we are not yet at the liberty to share unless every party has agreed to the terms and conditions.
We are yet to give a name to this new project and will announce it once all the requirements are met and parties are in principle satisfied,” he said.

PNC Led Government to Bring New Era of Growth – O’Neill

June 7, 2017 – Post Courier 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the country has seen dramatic infrastructure change delivered in the country over the last five years, and the next five years of a PNC-led government will deliver a new era of national growth.

PM O’Neill was speaking with the people of Wiabo in the Obura Wanenara district of Goroka yesterday, where he committed to continue road construction in the province.

“In only five years, we have delivered on our promises in our simple policies, which you have seen all around you,” the Prime Minister said.

“Give us another five years, and you will see this country transform. Road infrastructure is the key to economic development and has been our government’s priority in ensuring the rural population have access to better services.

“Road infrastructure is essential for the delivery of healthcare and education so that services reach rural communities easily and on time.

“We will further continue funding for more classrooms and make sure educational materials reach the schools.”

The Prime Minister was campaigning with Obura Wanenara candidate John Boito, where he urged the people to vote for Mr Boito so that he can continue building the road from where it was left.

“There has been so much negativity during this campaign from the opposition, they have made wild accusations. But action speaks louder than words, and this has been demonstrated in the last five years.”

Village leaders in Wiabo applauded the commitments from the Prime Minister and Mr Boito after so many past decades of being neglected.

“In five years, we have delivered proper classrooms, and your children are going to school.

“Before we came to government, this was just a dream.

“Free education to continue under a PNC-led government, but it would be cancelled if the opposition had a chance to form government.

“The benefits of free education are clear for your children, particularly families in villages with parents who could not afford school fees.

“Our government will keep your kids in school so they can have better lives as they grow into adults.”

The Prime Minister was accompanied by PNC candidates including, Governor Julie Soso, Minister Nick Kuman and Minister Benny Allan.

Leadership Needed to Maintain Services

 May 26, 2017KIRIWINA-GOODENOUGH

BY LEONNIE WAYANG

Basic government services like health, education and infrastructure are continuing programs that leaders have to implement.

Kiriwina-Goodenough MP, also Minister for Forest, Douglas Tomuriesa, said it is not so much the completion of these programs but their maintenance.

“We have started a lot of programs and I’m confident of coming back to continue these programs; not so much on completing them but to keep them going like health, education programs and infrastructure development programs in the electorate, which are important.”

“You cannot complete those programs, those are continuing programs,” he said.

“They are government-funded programs, and all they needed is leadership to keep 

them going,” Mr Tomuriesa said.

“I’ve done what I had to do in the last five years. Sometimes you cannot do everything in one go, but we’ve started off somewhere.”

Mr Tomuriesa said when he took office in 2012, there was no five-year development plan available.

“I found there was no five-year development plan.”

“So the first thing we did was work on a five-year development plan; and based on this development plan, we were able to achieve some of the things that we have done.”

“If you look at my election poster, the 10 policies I have basically covers the five-year development plan itself.”

“Last year, I revised the five-year development plan, and it’s now a 10-year development plan,” he added.

Committee Needed To Address Poultry Issues

May 25, 2017BY MELISHA YAFOI
RURAL Industries Council chairman Sir Brown Bai has urged that a Credible Strategic Review Committee be immediately established by National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA).

This is to investigate and review the status of the disease of birds in Malaysia and other countries from where poultry is being imported.

These calls have been made following reports of the illegal importation of frozen poultry into PNG and of PNG’s disease-free status.
He said it is crucial that birds and animals must be carefully screened to ensure they are disease free.
“Government has not adequately resourced NAQIA to do its job well.”


The RIC urges the Government to resource NAQIA adequately and also requests the Government to establish the full NAQIA Board.
“Calls by the private sector to Government to establish a fully constituted Board have fallen on deaf ears,” Sir Brown said.
“The RIC is very concerned that almost all our major cash crops have been hit by pests and diseases that came in from outside the country,” he said.
“All commodities Boards, apart from oil palm, have Interim Boards and by their respective laws, these Boards must be appointed urgently,” he added.
Pertinent questions were put to the PNG Customs chief Commissioner Ray Paul, including if customs were aware of the containers with illegal frozen chicken that had been landed in the country, reportedly from Malaysia.
However, Mr Paul neither confirmed nor denied this.
Instead the customs chief said the entry of the poultry imports was a matter for NAQIA as the regulatory Authority and technical capacity to deal with.
“PNG Customs Service will only facilitate poultry imports if and when approval is granted by NAQIA. Any importer or the Poultry Industry who has issues relating to poultry imports will have to see NAQIA.
“PNG Customs service works very closely with NAQIA on all imports relating to plants and animals which are regulated by NAQIA laws.
“Furthermore, we encourage the public and Industry to provide information of interest that they deem illegal upon sighting to assist us with our work,” he said.