22 Jun 2004

AUSAID supports survey of gun ownership in Papua New Guinea

9:40 am on 22 June 2004

The Australian aid agency, AUSAID, has contributed 27 and a half thousand US dollars towards a survey of guns in Papua New Guinea.

The survey will determine the number of pistols, machine guns and other firearms in PNG as part of a regional firearms audit.

A spokesman for the Arms Control and Counter-Proliferation branch of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said the survey would help determine the kind of aid Canberra should provide to help end PNG's law and order crisis.

PNG leaders recently called for a nationwide firearm ban and tougher penalties for those caught in possession of illegal firearms.

Former PNG Defence Force commander Jerry Singirok said PNG had reached a "crisis point", which would escalate into chaos and anarchy if the country's government did not act to stop the proliferation of firearms in the community.

The latest firearms survey is the second of its kind, after a similar initiative in 2002 found a disturbing number of guns, grenades and other firearms in PNG and elsewhere in the Pacific.