Prime Ministers Media Releases



Minister for Immigration and Border Security Assumes Responsibility for Work Permit Laws

Prime Minister James Marape has today announced new ministerial arrangements for the administration of the government's work permit program.

These new arrangements have arisen because of amendments that were made to the Immigration and Citizenship Services Act and the Employment of Non-citizens Act, which will see the work permit function transferring to the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA).

Under the new arrangements, Minister for Immigration and Border Security, the Hon. Westly Nukundj takes on responsibility for work permit laws from the Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations.

"The creation of a "one-stop-shop" for visas and work permits has been a long-standing policy of both my government and those that came before it. I am pleased that through these legislative changes we can start the process of reducing red tape for the business community and integrating the work permit requirements into our visa systems creating a single, integrated approval process", Mr Marape said.

The Prime Minister indicated that the reforms will also support border protection and border security for the nation.

"The duplication of functions and services that has existed in the past has allowed a small minority of disreputable businesses to exploit weaknesses in the system. By centralising all aspects of foreign worker approval in the one agency, we can improve issues including data protection, and compliance and enforcement activities, both at the border and in the field", the Prime Minister said. 

Initially, the work permit function will physically transfer to ICA headquarters in the Central Government Office. Once that has occurred, additional work will take place to commence the integration of systems, and the development of a new and modern Migration Act that will see the introduction of a single form, single fee, and single visa product.

"My vision, over time, is to integrate more of our border protection functions so that we can harness economies of scale, maximise our intelligence capability and prevent harm to PNG caused by every increasing levels of trans-national crime", the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister also assured Papua New Guineans that the Department of Labour and industrial Relations will continue to play an important role in determining what jobs should be reserved for citizens.

"The protection of jobs and industries for our own people remains critical. The work permit program is there to address gaps and skills shortages, but the Department of Labour will continue to monitor the labour market and determine which jobs should be available to foreign workers", Mr Marape said.



Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP acknowledged the Telstra announcement through a Market Release on the 25th of October 2021 that Telstra will acquire Digicel Pacific. He acknowledged that this is a commercial transaction that has been concluded under the present regulatory environment which encourages investments in the sector. 
The Prime Minister welcomes the investment of up to K4.9 billion (Au$1.85 billion) and stated that all Government and regulatory approvals will take their normal course for the acquisition to be completed. He acknowledged the massive involvement of Export Finance Australia in this transaction. This was expressed during a recent meeting between the Prime Minister and Telstra Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Andrew Penn. 
Prime Minister Marape also thanked Mr. Denis O’Brien and Digicel for their investment and dedication to Papua New Guinea since they came into the market in 2007. Papua New Guinea is Digicel’s most successful market in the Pacific. It has the largest market share in Papua New Guinea, and its takeover by a substantial reputable communications company in the region, ensures that there is continuity in the services that support such critical sectors as financial services and banking.
In a letter to Mr. O’Brien today Mr. Marape said:
“Digicel has been responsible for significant direct and indirect economic and social development across the country. Digicel connected towns and villages, friends and family. It was Digicel which redefined what mobile telephony meant for our people, and opened up the different market segments that no one thought existed.”
Prime Minister Marape also thanked Telstra for its investment and looked forward to plans to develop the network further, for the betterment of the citizens of Papua New Guinea. 
The Prime Minister has asked Telstra to consider future ownership structures which could represent strong and reputable participation of Papua New Guinea institutions and investors, leveraging off on the strong branding that Telstra brings to the market, and on commercial terms. 
The Government has recently paved the way for the partial privatisation of state-owned telecommunication assets through comprehensive reform and the merger of the retail communications companies. Domestic institutional investors will take up majority share and Board control, with Government having limited control and passive shareholding. 
The Prime Minister stressed that telecommunications services are critical to Papua New Guinea’s social and economic development. 
“Our government remains steadfast in its determination to further liberalise our communications market, through increased competition. We have invested heavily in communications because of the benefits to our citizens through the development of more affordable, reliable, and accessible networks.” 
“The cooperation between Telstra and the Australian Government should provide opportunities for the increased use of state-owned wholesale assets to meet service requirements for the betterment of telecommunications across the country,” stated the Prime Minister.
There is an expectation that wherever possible infrastructure sharing will be encouraged, reducing the need to erect several towers at the same location. Telikom will welcome the opportunity to collocate on Digicel infrastructure”.


Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has acknowledged the contributions of Middle Fly MP, the Late Hon. Roy Biyama, to Papua New Guinea.
He said this in a brief address at the Fly River Provincial Assembly in Daru today (Monday October 18th 2021) when delivering the body of Biyama to Daru.
Biyama, aged 54, a four-term Middle Fly MP since 2002 and a member of PM Marape’s ruling Pangu Pati, passed away on September 12.
He was farewelled in Parliament last week with glowing tributes from MPs.
PM Marape apologised to the people of Middle Fly, and Western, that he could not deliver the body home to Balimo.
“On behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea, we would like to pay respect to him (Biyama) for the services rendered to our country,” he said.
“He was a gentle guy who talked less, but worked hard for the country, worked hard for his people, worked hard for his family.
“He worked hard all the way to his passing.”
PM Marape said he had asked Biyama to rest from his work, after he had fallen ill, but the Middle Fly MP continued to work until his passing.
He said a classic example of this was the recent Porgera landowners’ meeting in Wabag,  where Biyama accompanied the Western Governor and South Fly MP to express concern about tailings being dumped into the Lake Murray, Strickland River and Fly River systems.
“This is testament of a leader who worked all the way, and sacrificed himself, for the betterment of his people and his country,” PM Marape said.
“I came here, representing the greater people of our country, to pay respect to this giant of a man, humble as he was, whose heart was in the right place, serving his people until his passing.
“We may not adequately fill in the vacuum at his home, his tribe, his district and his province, and his network of friends throughout the country.”
PM Marape passed on the condolences of the ruling Pangu Pati, and on behalf of himself and his family, to Biyama’s family, friends, people of Middle Fly and Western.
“May his memory live on,” he said.
“May God bless his soul, his family, his people.
“Rest in peace, brother.”