Labor welcomes the agreement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and James Marape to work towards elevating the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea to the status of a Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership.
This move should bring new focus to one of Australia’s most important bilateral relationships.
It recognises PNG’s status and its leadership role in the region and builds on the Joint Declaration for a New Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership signed by both governments in 2013.
It also reflects the fact that Australia and PNG have shared interests across the full spectrum of economic, social, political and strategic issues.
Australia and PNG both stand to benefit from a more strategic approach to their engagement on issues ranging from development assistance, economic cooperation and building good governance and strong institutions to defence and security cooperation, addressing human welfare issues and tackling environmental challenges.
Labor has long advocated close engagement with PNG as one of Australia’s nearest neighbours and a country with which we share important historical and cultural links.