Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) have inked a bilateral security agreement. The accord, signed in Canberra on Thursday, was formalised by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his PNG counterpart, James Marape. This development follows PNG’s earlier defence deal with the United States in May, focusing on upgrading its military bases.
The bilateral security agreement, a legally-binding framework, underscores a commitment to deepen cooperation in various security aspects. These include traditional domains such as defence, policing, border and maritime security, along with non-traditional areas like cyber security, climate change, gender-based violence, and critical infrastructure.
The agreement represents a significant step in advancing shared security interests and contributing to the broader security landscape in the Pacific region. It fulfils a commitment outlined in the Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership between the two nations. In line with their dedication to transparency, officials have announced that the agreement will be made publicly available.
As part of this collaboration, Australia has pledged a substantial commitment of $200 million in support of Papua New Guinea’s national security priorities. This support extends across various aspects of internal security, encompassing police, courts, and correctional services. Notably, the agreement places emphasis on addressing contemporary challenges, including climate change, gender-based violence, and cyber threats.
One of the key initiatives is the establishment of a Police Recruit and Investigations Training Centre in Port Moresby, supported by Australia. This centre aims to empower Papua New Guinea to recruit and train a larger and more proficient police force. In a gesture of regional cooperation, Papua New Guinea has offered to open the Training Centre to other Pacific police forces.
Additionally, both nations expressed their commitment to supporting the development of regional policing in the Pacific through the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police, considered the region’s policing institution. The collaborative efforts extend beyond security to encompass economic aspects, with a focus on trade, border security, and increased engagement in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme.
This bilateral agreement signifies a strategic move to fortify ties between Australia and Papua New Guinea, underscoring their joint commitment to fostering stability, security, and economic development in the Pacific region.