8 Nov 2013

Think tank sees need for stepped up Australian aid support for Bougainville

4:45 pm on 8 November 2013

An Australian think tank is calling for a Pacific mission to return to the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville to ensure there is no re-emergence of violence.

The Australia Strategic Policy Institute, in a report called 'A Stitch in Time' says ten years on from the withdrawal of the international peace mission to the province, there are worrying signs that the province could again tip over into instability.

An ASPI analyst, Karl Claxton, says many of the social and economic conditions that sparked the civil war are still there and may be getting worse.

He says Australia needs to lead a new Pacific assistance effort to avoid the need for another military intervention several years down the track.

Mr Claxton says they are not suggesting the establishment of a shadow government.

"But to be working within and alongside the autonomous Bougainville government as the new Bougainville civil service stands up next year. And to be mentoring and helping. What ASPI is saying is that it's time really to put the focus back on Bougainville and to be giving it a bit more help [and] helping the Papua New Guinea government which needs to be a central partner to prevent conflict re-emerging in the future."

Karl Claxton of the Australia Strategic Policy Institute