THE Papua New Guinea Association of Australia is pressing for a splendid project that would transmute the former Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) buildings at Middle Head in Sydney into a Community Centre for Pacific Nations.
To introduce the idea to the community and take it forward, the PNGAA will hold an open day at the site next Sunday 22 May between 10am and 2pm and it’s looking for support.
“The project aims to engage our community of Australians and Papua New Guineans with a suitable living, interactive, tribute in the form of a Papua New Guinea-Australia centre - a focal point for the PNG-Australia relationship,” says Andrea Williams, PNGAA president.
“ASOPA had a foundational linkage of military and civil engagement in securing, planning for and developing Papua New Guinea for nationhood and its direct successors became the dominant institutional presence in the precinct for 51 years until the AusAID Centre for Pacific Development and Training was abolished in 1998.”
This area and adjoining lands at Middle Head are now managed by the Sydney Harbour Trust and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service as public parkland.
“The Open Day and Planning and Information Day to be held at the former ASOPA site on Sunday 2016 is a great opportunity to hear about its past and consider its future,” Ms Williams said. “And the PNGAA needs your support.”
After the Open Day, the Trust will draft new amendments to the Middle Head Plan. These will be placed on public exhibition and submissions will be requested. This will provide an opportunity for the PNGAA’s concept to go forward for consideration.
Clearly if there is a substantial demonstration of public support for the idea next Sunday, this will greatly assist the PNGAA achieve its goal of establishing a Community Centre for Pacific Nations.
“The PNGAA initiative includes having the former ASOPA site put to use to foster better understanding of the importance of past and future relationships with PNG,” Ms Williams said.
“If those plans come to fruition, PNGAA will also need to play a co-ordinating role with a wider group of organisations with similar objectives.”
If you’re able to attend, or merely offer your supporting voice, you can email Andrea here.