AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION
Twenty-one Australian officials are now working under the direction of the PNGEC to provide a range of electoral support in areas including operations, logistics, training, communications, procurement and recruitment.
Australia has also just signed a contract to re-establish an effective helicopter capability within the PNGDF’s Air Transport Wing. The contract will be operational by the end of May with the aim of providing three aircraft in early June in time to contribute to election preparations, and for a period of two years thereafter to assist with the full range of military missions.
In addition, the Australian Federal Police has helped the RPNGC roll out a national communications network to enhance its capacity to manage its operations during the elections.
Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish said this support is part of an integrated package of Australian assistance to help PNG conduct the elections.
“The PNG government identified specific areas where Australian specialist assistance could make a valuable contribution to conducting the 2012 elections,” Mr Kemish said.
“The Australian government has carefully assessed how we can add value to the PNG Electoral Commission’s work, and we are pleased to play a supporting role.
“We have provided almost K25 million over two years through the Electoral Support Program, which involves the Australian Electoral Commission helping the PNGEC deliver elections, including a comprehensive civic awareness program,” he said.
Australian specialists have been deployed under the Australian Civilian Corps which is comprised of Australians chosen for their technical skills and ability to work effectively and deploy quickly into challenging environments.
One objective of this deployment will be to help the provincial electoral offices to recruit and train some of the 20,000 electoral and polling officials needed across PNG to conduct free, fair and safe elections.
“Australia has also funded 30 community police and is working with 90 civil society organisations to increase election awareness and reduce breaches of electoral law,” Mr Kemish said.
“Australia has provided 88 computers to double the rate at which the electoral roll data can be updated and assistance through the Australian Federal Police to rehabilitate the PNG police national radio network and train security personnel.”