“The public service is now based on the skills, experience and education that individuals possess,” O’Neill said on Monday.
He was speaking at the 2017 Pacific Public Service Commissioners Conference (PPSCC) launching in Port Moresby.
The three-day conference starts today.
“In Papua New Guinea, we are going into quite a change taking place not only in our infrastructure development and growth of our economy but the reforms we are making in the public sector structure,” O’Neill said.
“I inherited a government who was embarking on rightsizing and downsizing the public service machinery in the country.
“What it simply means is sacking everybody, in a simplest form of words.
“When I led the government for the last 6 years, our aim was to rebuild the public service and not necessarily to put people out of work, but reskill them so they will continue to perform better to the expectations of our people.
“As the modern world continues to bring more challenges, particularly changes that are taking place in technology and management skills that are required to meet those changes, it is important that we give our people the opportunity to upgrade their skills in the public services so they can continue to provide the services that we continue to demand.
“That is why it is important that the public service machinery is continuously reformed and updated to meet those challenges.”
The PM pointed out that one of the hurdles in Papua New Guinea is lack of skilled personnel.
“That is why our government has continued to invest in education, as one of our four core priority in the last 6 years,” O’Neill said.
PPSCC began in 2004 and provides and avenue for Pacific Public Service Commissioners to discuss public sector issues, share information and experiences, and cooperate to promote public service excellence for the Pacific.
It comprises commissioners from Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.