Prime Ministers Media Releases

HONOURABLE JAMES MARAPE, MP PRIME MINISTER OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA ADDRESS TO THE NATION on COVID-19

My fellow Papua New Guineans:
The world is currently facing a common enemy – the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.

As of today, there are more than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 and almost 5,000 deaths reported globally. There are 122 countries, territories and areas that have reported cases. It has also come to our Pacific neighbour of French Polynesia.

As I speak to you today, Papua New Guinea has no case of COVID-19. However, we have to continue to be on high alert as the risk of COVID-19 entering Papua New Guinea, just like the rest of our region and the world, is very high.

The PNG Government, since January, has recognized this threat to our country and we have started our preparedness measures.

We have a team of dedicated health experts and professionals who are work round-the-clock to ensure we have measures in place to prevent, detect, manage and treat any case of COVID-19.

We have developed a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan that outlines key measures from across different scenarios: from alert phase, containment and mitigation. It has detailed actions and requirements identified in every phase and the budget for those activities has already been approved by NEC on Wednesday this week.

Download Full Address to the Nation by Prime Minister

Acting Prime Minister Hon. Davis Steven, MP, speech on the Occasion of the return of 100 PNGDF Personnel on Humanitarian Mission to Australia, PNGDF Air Traffic Wing, Port Moresby

State Ministers,
Deputy Head of Mission – Australian High Commission,
Department Heads,
Head of Australian Defence Staff,
Members of the PNGDF,
Families and Friends of Australia,

Ladies and Gentlemen. Members of Kumul Force 17 - Welcome Home!

Thank you, for the service you have done in assistance to Australian Bushfire in which we were engaged, I present you my sincere thanks on behalf of the country. Words are powerless, but our humble gratitude for your service on behalf of the 8.5 million people of Papua New Guinea when the call came across the sea from our friend, Australia.

You cross the sea to stand side by side with our friends again, like our forefathers did along the Kokoda Trail, but this time against a different enemy – the force of Flame. We did not deploy with material things or wealth enough to ease the pain in the hearts of our friends affected, but we brought our hearts to share in their grief and pain.

Australia has been Papua New Guinea’s longtime close friend with well-established Defence relations between the two countries militaries. Also Australia is always the first responder in times of need or disaster in Papua New Guinea. Kumul Force 17 deployment to Australian Bushfire Assistance is a kindness returned for a kindness given by Australia in our times of need.

Today’s interconnected world means that whatever happens on one side of the house will invariable has impacts or effects on the other. It is therefore, essential that we understand and learn from the global security environment when we look to design our own security policy and strategies and develop a Defence Force that is equipped, trained and ready to respond to it within days.

Papua New Guinea’s national security interests must be based on an understanding of the regional and global security risks and compliment the security strategies of our partners and friends as we move, together, to construct a safer and more secure region and world.

As the largest of the small Pacific island nations, PAPUA NEW GUINEA has a prominent role in the region. This requires the PNGDF to develop capabilities that can contribute to stability within the region, particularly in the areas of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, in cooperation with regional and international partners. Papua New Guinea’s offer to support Australia’s bushfire response is a gesture of assurance to a close friend in times of crisis. Papua New Guinea may not have the

specialized capabilities and resources, but we offer our hearts and our hands to the Australian people. A burn or a hurt in an Australian flesh is also a burn and a hurt in a Papua New Guinean flesh. Together we burn, together we grieve!

I am very pleased for the Minister for Defence, Chief of Defence Force and the Secretary for Defence, and all the Government Departments, Agencies and institutions involved in supporting Kumul Force 17 during their period of deployment to assist Australia in the bushfire response effort.

Papua New Guinea’s national security goals and the fundamental principles underpinning the Government’s expectations of the PNGDF require it to support Papua New Guinea’s security, resilience, and wellbeing across abroad range of activities.

  • The PNGDF will provide significant value to Papua New Guinean villages & communities, the region, and the world under the new Defence Policy - Force 2030: Many Nations, One Force. The PNG Defence Force will:
    Support Papua New Guinea’s villages & communities, and environmental wellbeing and resilience of our people.
  • Promote a safe, secure, and resilient Papua New Guinea, including at its borders and approaches. Contribute to maintaining Papua New Guinea’s prosperity via secure air, sea, land and electronic lines of communication, and secure access to space-based services.
  • Contribute to the maintenance of the international rules-based order, and to Papua New Guinea’s network of strong international relationships.

The PNGDF therefore, need to have adaptable, innovative personnel; robust and resilient infrastructure; deployable mission-capable forces; and the ability to enlarge the PNGDF at relatively short notice if required. This should allow the PNGDF to absorb shocks and respond appropriately if required internally and externally during events such as this – the Australian Bushfire Assistance.

This is the 17th time since Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea as country has deployed a large body of troops overseas. The Vanuatu deployment was known as KUMUL FORCE ONE (1), 2 to 16 was deployed to the Solomon Islands, and this deployment to Australian Bushfire is: KUMUL FORCE 17.

KUMUL FORCE 17

You have made PNG proud by working alongside your Australian counterparts in the effort to assist the many affected by the flames of hell. Thank you for your inspiration and mannerism to those affected by the bushfire. Your most casual remarks will be remembered by those you crossed path with.

As months and years pass and the future slides into the present, there will be new heart breaks as the affected families and communities plan for recovery, and then realize there is nothing there. Their grieving is not just for the loss of what was but also for what will never be, because they will have to start all over again.

It is only in the military service, where men and women freely sacrifice their lives for a faith, where they are willing to suffer and die for the right or the prevention of crisis or assist other people in such disasters. You have done well alongside your Australian Defence Force counterparts.

Finally, on behalf of the Marape/Steven Government and people of PNG, allow me to thank the Australian Government, the Australian people and the ADF for supporting Kumul Force 17 during their deployment and return them home safely. Together we are strong; together we make our region safer.

Thank you! Welcome Home!

PNG Security Industry Leaders challenged to work with Government

The Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, MP, has challenged leaders’ in security innovation to work with Government to improve Security in the Country.
The Prime Minister made the challenge at the 2nd Papua New Guinea Security Congress at the Stanley Hotel today.

The congress provided an opportunity for Prime Minister Marape to reiterate the Government’s plans going into the future and how the Security Companies and their innovative ideas can contribute towards protecting the country from both local and international threats.

The conversations in the digital security space must continue on into the future because in the future, life will be very much in the digital technology space, the Prime Minister said.

Papua New Guinea has made the transition into the digital age in one life time and often, such fast advancement, there is always a vacuum or a possible slip in policy or procedural areas that makes abuse of technology possible.

Therefore, conversations like this will help to ensure that Papua New Guinea is safe and secure, whilst we are developing and advancing in technology and catching up on what our citizens need in terms of modern education, health and economy.

Ensuring that our country is robust and secure from possible abuses and possible threats going into the future.

The Prime Minister said protecting the country from possible cyber abuse and threat is very important and that the Government feels that it is incumbent on them ensure such conversations are made part of their conversation going into the future.

The future will be all about doing business and delivering services in the cyber space so a secure environment in that space is very important.

Government needs to be aware of any deficiencies we presently carry in our systems so that we can tidy and fix those deficiencies going forward and also going forward, getting correct advice from the right environment in the digital space.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the many help that sister Government’s especially Australia and New Zealand have given PNG and also many bilateral partners who have been assisting in the past and who will continue to stand with PNG into the future.

PM Marape urges Solomon Islands and PNG businesses to go into agriculture, fisheries and tourism

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has urged businesses in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to look more into agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

He said this in Honiara on Friday when addressing a business luncheon attended by the business community in Solomon Islands as well as a large business delegation from PNG.

PM Marape said there were about 52 PNG businesses in Solomon Islands, which could grow even more, and likewise urged Solomon Islands’ businesses to set up in PNG.

He said that Asian market was a growing and affluent one that needed organic food, clean water and rest-and-recreation.

The affluent of Asia will be looking for good food, clean water, and rest-and-recreation, he said.

These things we have in Solomon Islands and PNG.

PM Marape said Solomon Islands and PNG could take the examples of Israel and New Zealand, who although were small, were now agricultural powerhouses.

He said the global demand for fisheries products was increasing and this was where the two countries could make an impact.

My fisheries minister was advising me that Pacific Islands’ waters hold 70 per cent of the world’s tuna supply, PM Marape said.

Tuna belongs to this ‘healthy food’ that I was alluding to.

Solomon Islands and PNG can combine into those spaces.

We don’t need skyscrapers, big technology hubs, to rush into the spaces of other nations.

I propose to us today: Look into the space of food and look into the space of tourism.

PM Marape said PNG could be like New Zealand, however, “we are lazy ourselves”.

We want the easy money from oil and gas, he said.

PM Marape pointed out the example of Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd, a subsidiary of PNG company New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, which was now one of the largest export earners for Solomon Islands.

I encourage the rest of us Papua New Guineans and Solomon Islanders to think big, he said.

God has already blessed our land and resources at strategic locations.

The market place is there for us.

PM Marape said he and Solomon Islands PM Hon. Manasseh Sogavare had talked about providing incentives for businesses from the two countries to grow.

I’m an advocate of agriculture and sustainable business, he said.

Whilst other business are important, I know that every day, I will not be looking for gold and gas: I will be looking for food.

Solomon Islands and PNG, from our seas and from our land, using technology, can supply Asia.