14 Dec 2004

Australian called on to up aid to PNG because of pervasive, systemic weaknesses

9:13 pm on 14 December 2004

Australia has been told it needs to spend millions of dollars more in aid to help its increasingly vulnerable neighbour, Papua New Guinea.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank with close connections to the Howard Government, says there are pervasive and systemic weaknesses in PNG's ability to provide effective government.

In a report called "Strengthening our neighour: Australia and the future of Papua New Guinea," co-author Professor Hugh White of the Australian National University, says underlying all of PNG's problems is the low sense of nationhood.

He says the recently launched Enhanced Co-operation Programme, or ECP, which will eventually see 210 police and dozens of public officials sent to PNG, is a start but much more needs to be done.

"and the argument in our report is that Australia, if it wants to make a real difference to PNG, needs to take a long term approach to address those deeper problems of the weakness of state institutions and the weakness of the nation itself as well as trying to alleviate the more superficial symptons through the ECP."