20 Jul 2009

Formation of PNG's new Hela province linked to the massive LNG project

7:34 pm on 20 July 2009

An MP from Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands says leaders of the new Hela province face a huge administrative challenge to make the province viable.

Opposition member and the MP for Imbonggu District, Francis Awesa, supported the recent parliamentary vote in favour of a plan to create two additional provinces in the Highlands by 2012.

Formation of a new province from the existing Southern Highlands follows pressure from the people of Hela region which is crucial to the massive Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, project.

Mr Awesa says the formation of this new province is due but it comes with a big responsibility.

"And that responsibility is about accountability, transparency and efficiency and delivery of services by public servants; accountability of public funds coming through from the national government especially when all these LNG royalties go there. There's going to be substantial increase in revenue which will be required to be spent for the improvement of infrastructure. It's going to be a big challenge."