28 Apr 2009

Australia to help Papua New Guinea use sport to aid health and school attendance

6:50 pm on 28 April 2009

Australia plans to help set up a national rugby league competition in Papua New Guinea aimed at improving public health and school attendance.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he and the PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare have discussed how to develop PNG rugby league and also provide greater opportunities in Australia for PNG players.

It was hoped to come up with a plan for consideration at June's Ministerial forum.

Mr Rudd said on Tuesday a national PNG competition, linked to school attendance and public health strategies, could achieve great results.

Mr Rudd says a key objective for PNG from the Pacific Partnerships for Development aid programme is to raise primary school participation from the present rate of 53 per cent to 70 per cent by 2015.

Papua New Guinea is separately pushing to have a team entered in Australia's NRL competition.