16 Sep 2003

PNG academic says aid positions similar despite spat

10:15 am on 16 September 2003

A Papua New Guinea political scientist, Dr Henry Okole, says the positions of PNG and Australia on aid are a lot closer than it has appeared during the public debates of the past month.

He says they appear to be talking past each other, despite PNG saying it also wants the aid reviewed.

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, is expected in Port Moresby this week and Dr Okole says a key issue that PNG will want resolved is the role of AusAID.

He says, while there is talk of building governance capacity, AusAID, is operating outside of most PNG government departments.

"How do you build up the type of manpower here? What type of specific building are we talking about here things like that the PNG government, the Australian government need to talk about that because personally I think the public service should be involved somehow for our own benefit for the long run."