PAPUA New Guinea has reacted to Australia's recent decision to establish a diplomatic post in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville by banning Australian travel to the province.
This spat is proving to be an irritant not only for the friendly relationship between Canberra and Port Moresby, but also for relations between Port Moresby and government authorities in Bougainville.
Australia's aid spend in Bougainville is $50 million next financial year – larger than Australian aid programs in Samoa, Tonga or Kiribati. Establishing an office to administer a program of this size is understandable.
It is perhaps surprising Australia has not sought to establish a consulate either in Bougainville or another location in Papua New Guinea before now, given the quantum of Australian interests in our nearest neighbour.