Bougainville's own public service launched
Bougainville launches its own public service as Port Moresby hands down more powers.
The chief administrator in Papua New Guinea's Bougainville says the launch of its own public service today will greatly benefit locals.
Running its own public service is a cornerstone of the Bougainville Peace Agreement but Port Moresby has, until now, not handed down the powers because it had deemed the province lacked the capacity.
Chris Siriosi told Don Wiseman the province has been laying the groundwork for today's development for the past two years.
CHRIS SIRIOSI: I am actually the most happiest person on Bougainville because we have worked hard for this. It has taken us more than two years to get to where we are in terms of attaining very high degrees of autonomy in terms of the public service on Bougainville. It is an occasion to be proud of because the Autonomous Bougainville Government now has quite a range of powers relating to the public service. This range of powers includes the authority of the ABG to authorise organisations' structures, to amend organisations' structures, to re-classify jobs and description of jobs, so it is an immense achievement.
DON WISEMAN: So what it means is there are Port Moresby oriented public servants at the moment and they will switch allegiance or have you got more jobs being created? How does it go?
CS: What is going to happen now, on May 15th, public servants here in Bougainville, those who have decided to join the Bougainville public service, will become Bougainville public servants on the 15th.
DW: And will there be additional jobs created, based in Bougainville, or is it just a matter of changing the labels on the doors?
CS: I think initially it is a matter of using existing organisation structures and building up a completely new structure from that.
DW: Why has it taken so long. To have your own public service is a critical part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement isn't it, but it has taken an eternity to get to this point. Why?
CS:: Yes I think it is really the Momis/Nisira Government that took up the initiative to give notice to the National Government that the public service was, as you were pointing out, a very critical element of autonomy. So this request for the transfer of public service powers was made in 2012. That's when we started work on the public service arrangements - the transfer of the public service from National Government to the ABG. So it is really an achievement for the Momis/Nisira Government.
DW: What sort of change will it mean for the province?
CS: As far as I am concerned I think it will mean bringing public services right down to the grass roots level and making delivery of service much more effective and accountability to the system of local level government here in Bougainville and that is really the next for the ABG, that is to bring the structure right down to the level of the councils, the Councils of Elders. We want Council of Elders to be responsible for monitoring and compliance with standards, public service standards here in Bougainville. That is something that is a bit more long term but we intend to start work on that immediately.
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