21 Oct 2004

Australian police to quell unrest in PNG Highlands

8:38 am on 21 October 2004

The Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu hopes the Australian police being sent to PNG will help overcome the frequent violence in the Highlands region.

The Enhanced Cooperation Programme will see more than 200 Australian police and dozens of government officials working in Papua New Guinea.

The ECP began early last month with officers sent to Bougainville.

Sir Rabbie, who is on a state visit to New Zealand, says the Australian deployment to Papua New Guinea is already having a positive impact.

He says it's restoring confidence that the government is finally doing something about law and order problems, financial management and governance.

Sir Rabbie says a number of the police will be sent to the town of Mount Hagen from where they will set up a proper patrol system including into Enga and the Southern Highlands provinces.

"and the leaders from those two provinces, in particular, requested that we include them, originally they weren't going to be included, they have now been included and a number of these people will be sent to Enga and Southern Highlands."