APNGBC NEWS : 3rd Nov 2016

2016 PNG Update: Inaugural Address by HE Mr Bruce Davis Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea

HE Mr Bruce Davis, Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea gave the Inaugural Address at the 2016 PNG Update. 'The Australia – Papua New Guinea Partnership: Shared challenges and opportunities.'

— By HE Mr Bruce Davis

An excerpt form the speech is below and the full speech can be read here.

'...One thing that I am always struck by is the incredible depth and breadth of the Australia and Papua New Guinea relationship.

In this sense I am not referring to the interactions that come about from our formal government to government engagement – but the very many interactions that occur more informally, and through people to people contact.
I always love seeing and hearing about those stories, because it is those links that provide the real sustenance and ballast for our relationship.

I love meeting the Australian doctors, nurses, teachers, religious and many others who have come to Papua New Guinea to learn and visit, and stayed here to live and work. Or meeting the rugged individuals and business men and women who are working hard alongside Papua New Guineans whether it is in Highlands agriculture or the latest mining venture. Or meeting the incredibly talented students who have studied in Australia and are returning to apply their new knowledge – or now the Australian students who are coming here under the New Colombo Plan to study.

Maybe it is one of the many Church volunteers scattered across the country, and working at times in some of the most remote places.

Perhaps it is one of the growing group of young people that are forging entrepreneurs’ networks as they discuss new ideas for start-ups and the world of venture capital

Or perhaps it is the latest group of trekkers that have made their way across the Kokoda Track and while exhausted you can see in their faces they know they have experienced something very special that they will never forget.

And while conferences like these tend to focus more on the formal side of the Australia – Papua New Guinea relationship, I would encourage you all to reflect on the many other aspects of our relationship.

It is these people, and these interactions, not our government to government links that most deeply define the nature of the special relationship that exists.

Australia and Papua New Guinea are bound by history and geography. We have helped each other, worked together, and challenged each other on the sporting field.

Our relationship is incredibly rich… incredibly diverse… incredibly broad… and incredibly important

There is much in the relationship that is positive.

But there is one thing that I would like to see recast.

That is how for too long we have allowed some to frame and define our relationship by the issue of foreign aid.

We need to fix that.

We need to recast that framing.

It’s outdated, and does not reflect the reality of our deep and broad bilateral partnership.

Australia and Papua New Guinea are no longer donor and recipient, but economic and strategic partners in the 21st century...

Read the full speech: http://png.embassy.gov.au/pmsb/Speeches2010.html 

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