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04 February 2012

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In 2008 Kevin Rudd visited Goroka in the Highlands. My wife was there to witness this event. The reception he got was quite unbelievable.

When I visited the Highlands in 2008 I asked the villagers why he had got such a reception. They explained that his visit indicated that after 33 years of neglect that at long last the Australian government was going to take a real interest in working with the PNG government to sort out the major issues of corruption and lack of development in the rural villages.

With a bit of luck, they said, the Australian government may even take full control again.

I explained that as an Independent Nation Papua New Guinea would never come under the control of the Australian government.

Australia's role had changed and I hoped that through AusAID Australia could play a significant role in the development of the rural villages.

The villagers were dismayed at this for they thought that Rudd's visit meant so much more.

I also have been dismayed at the lack of aid reaching out into the villages that don't even have clean drinking water.

My attempts to interest AusAID have all ended up in the sago swamps never to surface again.

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