9 May 2013

Australia's Gillard will make first official trip to PNG today

6:47 am on 9 May 2013

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to touch down in Papua New Guinea this afternoon, marking her first official trip to the country.

In a visit lasting just under 48 hours, Ms Gillard is expected to meet with her PNG counterpart Peter O'Neill, his cabinet, and the opposition leader Belden Namah.

Ms Gillard and Mr O'Neill are expected to canvass a raft of issues during the visit.

Trade and enhanced defence cooperation will be the topics for the meetings, with PNG expected to raise concerns about visa processing for Papua New Guineans travelling to Australia.

Papua New Guinea is also expected to seek Australia's help in boosting relations with Asia, as well as seeking Australia's help to host APEC in 2018.

The controversial Australian-run asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island may also be discussed, with its legality currently before PNG's courts.