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24 January 2011

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Hi Francis - Thank you for your observations. Those are some very astute comments and should be heeded by the Australian Government.

Mekim save poroman (Give them heaps, mate).

Australia should do more with PNG in strategic defence cooperation. More focus should be placed on developing the strategic capability of PNGDF to deal with emerging border and maritime security issues.

The defence reform package is still far from achieving its intended objectives. The current reform package should be reviewed as far as national security is concerned.

Australia should also seriously consider the Pacific Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme. Australia should honour this committment.

In sum, it appears that the current partnership package is still far from achieving its intended goals. A lot of issues remain unresolved.

The trend in PNG has transformed rapidly, with new elites who have the potential to use Australia's attitude as political leverage to shape policy outcomes.

PNG does not intend to upset Australia by shifitng her focus to other countries such as China. Australia should be cautious with her current approach in bilateral relations.

There is a second aspect that should have been readily apparent to those public servants who wrote Mr Marles' responses if they had taken any time to consider the situation.

They are not dealing with uninformed and irrelevant members of the public. PNG Attitude readers are informed and are a motivated and passionate group of people who will not be fobbed off with platitudes and motherhood statements.

Mr Marles should now recognise he is dealing with a dedicated group of people who taken the time to send him perfectly reasonable questions and want to see real answers provided.

If this is the type of response that is given to Mr Marles, what can we expect from the AusAID Review?

Mr Marles, the people of Australia and Papua New Guinea are depending on you to do something constructive and positive.

Sorry Keith, I have just transferred Richard Marles' reports to my JAW file . That is Just Another Wanker - totally irrelevant to the vast majority of grassroots people in PNG.

Richard Marles gives a glowing impression of Papua New Guinea.

To get the Australian government's true impression go to http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/advice/Papua_New_Guinea
_____________________________________________

Summary of official Australian government advice on PNG:

* We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Papua New Guinea because of the high levels of serious crime.

* Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. Leading into the Christmas period there is often an increase in crime, including car-jackings and muggings, in particular in Port Moresby and Lae.

* Large crowds and public gatherings should be avoided as they may turn violent.

* Crime rates are high in the capital Port Moresby and in other areas of Papua New Guinea, especially in Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces.

* There have been a small number of high profile kidnappings for ransom.

* A cholera outbreak continues in PNG and the number of affected regions around the country is expanding. The PNG National Department of Health has confirmed cases of cholera in Morobe Province, Madang Province, East Sepik, West Sepik, Southern Highlands, National Capital District, and in Daru, Western Province.

Unfortunately the Pacific Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme has been a non-event.

It was announced in 2008 that 2,500 workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu would participate in a three-year pilot and work for up to seven months a year in the horticulture industry in regional Australia.

We are now into the third year of the scheme, however, according to the ABC, just 56 of the 100 visas made available were taken up last year.

So another example of Australian Government rhetoric being on another planet to reality?

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