14 Jul 2005

PNG Police Minister wants ECP brought back into force

9:30 pm on 14 July 2005

The Papua New Guinea Police Minister, Bire Kimisopa, says the partially suspended Enhanced Cooperation Programme is a must for his country and he will try to do all he can to reinstate it.

The multi-million dollar ECP is in doubt, and many fear it is effectively ended, following a PNG Supreme Court ruling that the immunity from prosecution granted to Australians working under it is unconstitutional.

Talks are under way, but there's no sign of agreement that a way forward has been found that meets Australia's need for immunity while the PNG desire to avoid amending the Constitution.

Mr Kimisopa says he's confident the talks will show the way forward.

And he's indicating that he for one is open to changing the Constitution if that's what's required.

"I mean this programme, it's an absolute must for PNG. If we can make minor amendments or changes to our constitution to better bring about a positive change in our economy, I think ultimately that's the goal of any government."

Bire Kimisopa says he'll be making his views on the ECP clear to the Parliament soon.