PNG, Australia Reveal Manus Development Package
By Jeffrey Elapa
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 7, 2012) – Medical services, education and roads rank high in the list of work priorities for Manus Island in the development package drawn up by the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia.
As part of the island’s development through the Manus asylum processing centre agreement, Lorengau Hospital facilities and services would be upgraded, 20 classrooms, 10 teacher houses and 10 school offices added to the Manus Provincial High School and roads would be upgraded, with resealing from Momote Airport to Lorengau.
A joint government mission from the two countries, led by the PNG government and involving infrastructure specialists, would visit Manus shortly to determine development priorities, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday after releasing a joint statement from the two countries’ governments.
O’Neill and Australian High Commissioner to PNG Ian Kemish held a media briefing at Jackson International Airport yesterday before O’Neill flew to Indonesia to attend the Bali Democracy Forum.
O’Neill said among the projects identified for Manus were the renovation and maintenance of the hospital, school and roads.
He said the aid posts and health centre would also benefit from the development package.
O’Neill said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting he had with Governor Charlie Benjamin and Kemish last week and for the continued support from Australia.
Kemish said locals would also be involved in sub-contracting arrangements with specialist contractors.
"Communities across Manus will benefit from this substantial investment," the statement said.
"Australia will support the government of PNG and provincial health and hospital staff to develop a master plan for the Lorengau Hospital... and will examine the needs of the hospital as a key priority."
The PNG government proposed to establish a technical school as well in Manus.
Kemish said Australia was committed to abide to the agreement under the development package to Manus and PNG on top of other projects that had been identified.
He said a team from National Planning and AusAID would travel to identify long-term development programmes on the island.
Through AusAID, Australia would be committed to spend about A$8 million (K17.3 million) on Manus over the next three years under an existing arrangement.
However, O’Neill said although he would not release the actual development package, it would be in millions.
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