Paul Oates and Norm Richardson’s proposal that the Federal Government establish an exchange scheme to enable young officers from the Commonwealth Public Service and the PNG Public Service to exchange jobs on short-term assignments will be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting of the management committee of the PNG Association.
It’s a great idea that, if accepted, will go a long way to building understanding and transferring expertise between the two countries. While there are a couple of existing schemes that look a bit like this one, the Oates-Richardson scheme is much more comprehensive. The New Zealand government will run a program for PNG diplomatic officers starting this month. And the National Judicial College of Australia will train PNG’s 100 magistrates in a program that will start later in the year.
But both of these initiatives, useful though they are, are straightforward programs in which New Zealanders and Australians train Papua New Guineans. They lack the reciprocity and mutuality of Oates-Richardson. The two ex-kiaps have proposed a scheme that pitches right in the slot and it’s to be hoped the PNG Association can give it the support that will help build a bit of momentum.