10 May 2013

Australia promises to ease access for Papua New Guineans

1:46 pm on 10 May 2013

The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive David Conn says Australia's Prime Minister has given an assurance that her country will make it easier for Papua New Guineans to apply for visas.

Julia Gillard gave the undertaking at a breakfast this morning hosted by the Chamber, on the second day of her first visit to PNG.

Mr Conn says Ms Gillard claims a new online registration system will help reduce the red tape around visas.

He says this was in response to comments by PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at an official ceremony last night that the lengthy visa application process was frustrating and even insulting for his people.

"I think the Australians were stinging a little bit about that. They feel that there's already bilateral negotiations going on and that this online registration will solve most of these problems that PNG has."

David Conn.

Julia Gillard has not indicated that PNG will be added to a list of around 40 countries with swift travel access into Australia.