24 Oct 2003

Bougainville to approach Australia and New Zealand for direct assistance when last observers go

4:38 pm on 24 October 2003

Bougainville's joint consultative committee plans to ask Australia and New Zealand what type of assistance they can give after the Transitional team pulls out on December 31st.

The committee, which sat this week, also passed a resolution to ask the UN to extend the tenure of its envoy, Noel Sinclair, for 12 months or until the elections are held.

The Bougainville Minister Sir Peter Barter says the committee accepts that the Transitional Team of 17 Australian and New Zealand officials, will withdraw at the end of the year.

But Sir Peter says they have been assured that that assistance can be converted into the expertise needed to deal with the post conflict problems facing the island.

"in other words, areas of expertise we need over there - taxation so the Bougainville people can get up their own tax regime, areas where accounting or financial management is required, planning management is required, and the consultative committee will make a recommendation through the Minister of Planning to the New Zealand and Australian Governments to see what type of assistance we can get to replace the BTT, not in the form of the BTT, but in the form of direct assistance"