Prime Ministers Media Releases

Prime Minister Official Press Statement on COVID-19 Update

1. 14 Day State of Emergency
This is to ensure we have an isolation strategy so that we can pinpoint if the virus is present in our country after the first breach of security.

2. The first case
Has been transferred to Australia fit and well this morning and will undergo further medical test. The results will be made known to the country.

3. First case's impact assessment
We doing steps retracing for the first case to ensure we have a map of the impact (if any) so we can know correct statistics and put in strategies to deal with the COVID- 19.

4. State of Emergency conduct
- Provincial Government through Provincial Administrators, will coordinate with Provincial Health Authority, Provincial Police Commanders as lead agencies to handle awareness, and coordination of prevention and treatment at the provincial level.
- No public travelling from district to district or province to province in country.

- All schools remain shut for 14 days, all day students to stay at home and all boarding schools including universities and colleges are to maintain boarding of students but no classes are to be taught.

- Essential services will be maintained that includes health services, public utilities, banks, shops, fuel stations, police and defence.

- All employers including public services should scale down workers in this period to ensure safe work place from the spread of Coronavirus.

- PNGDF is on standby for call out to assist Police in this SOE period and beyond.

- All spreading false rumours and organising public gatherings will be charged appropriately.

5. Economic Interventions
I have the pleasure of meeting with Central Bank as well as all Banks CEOs plus the two super funds with the view that specific economic interventions be made for employees, individuals and business in our
country struggling as a result of this crisis we are in.

CONCLUSION
The COVID-19 has not killed one person yet in PNG; the only person test positive after three tests has left our country in healthy state. I ask our citizens not to panic; Government will do everything possible to STOP from coming into PNG, STOP from spreading or lastly STOP from killing patients.

But in the first instance now we want to map out our country within the 14 days to see which part of our country is attacked by the virus as a matter of precaution.

Our people are asked to live healthy and clean, and follow.

NEC APPROVES SET-UP OF NATIONAL ADVISORY BODY AND CONSULTATIVE TEAM ON BOUGAINVILLE

The National Executive Council has approved the set-up of a National Advisory Body and a Consultative Team to engage in consultations with the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Prime Minister James Marape said his Cabinet acknowledges that a consultation process will take place now after the declaration of the Bougainville Referendum result last year.

Therefore, it approved the setting up of a National Advisory Body, a PNG National Consultative Team and an Eminent Group, he said.

The Advisory Body would offer views and advises on behalf of the National Government and people of PNG, and the Consultative Team undertake the consultative process with the Bougainville Consultative Team.

The proposed membership of the Advisory body include community representatives, churches, business community, civil society and prominent men and women and the PNG National Consultative Team include senior members of Parliament and Secretaries of Central Agency Coordinating Committee (CACC) or key government departments.

The two governments are yet to agree on a tentative format and an agenda for the consultation process and it is difficult to gauge how long it will take, the Prime Minister said.

However, there is general hope that it could be concluded before the 2022 National General Election and after the consultation process is done the two governments will commit the outcomes of their deliberations to Parliament for ratification.

It has to be noted that as a non-binding arrangement, Bougainville’s overwhelming vote for independence does not translate to immediate self-determination.

The final decision is the ratification that it is to take place after the joint consultation process and both governments, through the Bougainville Peace Agreement, do recognize the National Parliament as the highest and constitutionally mandated authority in the country.

For such reasons, it is considered crucial that a National Consultative Forum within a specific time frame be held before the consulting process commences, sometimes in March-April 2020

NEC APPROVES REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND MINING LAWS ON TAILINGS DISPOSAL

The National Executive Council has approved a final report by the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission (CLRC) to review the Mining Act of 1992 and the Environment Act 2000.

Prime Minister James Marape said the review into the two Acts is to improve the practice in managing and disposing mine tailings to minimize the risk of damage to the environment and the people living within mine areas.

The Review of the Environmental and Mining Laws relating to the Management and Disposal of Tailings by mining companies is to safeguard and protect the lives and the well-being of the people and the environment from pollution and destruction.

Some significant recommendations from the report include a total ban on all riverine tailings disposal in the country.

It further proposes for an amendment to the Mining Act 1992 to provide for a total ban on Riverine Tailings Disposal methods for all future mines in the country.

This method of tailings is only practiced in two countries around the world; Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, he said.

The final report also calls for the amendment to the Mining Act 1992 and the Public Health Act 1973 to include Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) as part of the licensing condition.

One other important outcome is the proposal to create a separate body, independent of the State regulatory bodies, either within the Public Solicitors Office or otherwise, to assist the landowners and the impacted communities in negotiating MOAs and any business engagement plan between the landowners and the developer/proponent and the State.

The proposed specific mining & environment and public health legislations or acts.

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