TO REFERENCE PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND PROSPERITY in the same sentence, as parliamentary secretary Marles did in his controversial Port Moresby speech, reveals a limited academic view of PNG, not the depth of understanding of our nearest neighbour required in our government. It is a huge disappointment.
All this talk of economic growth based on what resources projects are worth is meaningless to the people starved of basic services, eviscerated from their land and subsistence livelihood, forced to earn a living without education or skills in a world of commerce foreign to them.
Some forage for scraps of ore on the waste dumps covering their food gardens, shot dead for their efforts. Their fish now poisoned by cyanide and mercury from these projects, disgruntled landowners are confronted with AK47-toting private security guards, protecting the assets of foreign mining companies. Our mining companies.
Is it PNG's prosperity, or ours that matters most?
This talk of economic growth does not take into account the many years it takes for these projects to begin delivering income tax revenue and royalties - if indeed they ever do.
The sad history of resources projects in PNG is such that few key projects do, and - whether by contractual largesse or accounting sleight of hand - some won't ever contribute to the national coffers. In this respect, Oil Search is a lonely positive contributor to the tax base of PNG.
With the environment being the waste disposal option of choice of Australian mining companies in PNG, the economic loss of ecosystems and biodiversity is extreme.
Missing in the economic analysis of the value of resources projects. Such projects in the way that they are executed, preclude the development of sustainable nature-based tourism.
There is a lot the Australian government could be doing to change the outcomes from Australian aid and resources projects.
The challenges are a great deal more complex than this comment suggests, but so too are the best solutions to any problem most often the simple.
The 'trending' of the Twitter handle of ABC's PNG correspondent Liam Fox during the political crisis last year, and the record number of views of PNG Attitude, is evidence enough of a most interested Australian public, underserved by mainstream media.
While the government cannot interfere in editorial process and demand greater coverage, editors and producers should take note of the rise of this blog, my own and some exceptional PNG blogs over the past year.
People are seeking out not just news but diverse independent analysis and commentary. They are not finding it in mainstream media. But they are finding it.
Alex Harris is a writer whose Reputation Report blog can be accessed here