18 Mar 2014

Australia signals more engagement with Bougainville

7:14 am on 18 March 2014

The Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea says it's important her country and New Zealand support Bougainville as it heads towards a five-year window on an independence referendum.

Deborah Stokes says New Zealand has played an important role with the Bougainville auxiliary police, while Australia has assisted the police through infrastructure work.

She says other areas Australia is assisting with include health, education, and the drafting of legislation for the mining industry.

Ms Stokes says lots of preparation will be needed on the possible referendum.

"I can only see from the Australian government's point of view that it will increase, that our engagement there will only expand, especially as we build up to the window on the referendum, which opens in 2015. Building up to that, what is the organisation that is going to conduct the referendum and to make sure that it's a credible referendum, so there's a lot of work ahead."

The Australian High Commissioner to PNG Deborah Stokes.