Prime Minister Hon. James Marape on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to outgoing Australian High Commissioner H.E. Jon Philp for his immensely productive four-year tenure in Papua New Guinea. Mr. Philp, who began his eventful tour-of-duty in early 2020, leaves Papua New Guinea on Friday, marking the conclusion of a tenure that has significantly contributed to the strengthening of bilateral ties between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
During his tenure, Mr. Philp demonstrated remarkable commitment by visiting all 22 provinces of Papua New Guinea and presiding over the inauguration of numerous projects of national significance. His efforts have been pivotal in cultivating stronger diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Prime Minister Marape said, “Australia-Papua New Guinea relations have greatly flourished over the past four years, thanks to Mr. Philp’s stewardship, a contribution for which the nation is profoundly grateful. This includes substantial Australian support to our national budget.
“For the first time in the 48 years since Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia, an Australian Government and Prime Minister have addressed all outstanding issues between our countries. Australian Prime Minister, Hon. Anthony Albanese, visited Papua New Guinea in January, addressing our Parliament and paying respects at the burial site of Sir Michael Somare in Wewak. This was followed by the highly successful 29th Australia–Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum held in Canberra in February.
“Papua New Guinea extends its deep appreciation to the Australian Government for its support of our aspiration to become the 18th team in the Australian NRL. All of these milestones and more have been achieved during Mr. Philp’s tenure as the Australian High Commissioner.”
Prime Minister Marape affirmed that the enduring relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea remains remarkably strong and unique. He expressed confidence that this partnership will continue to thrive in the future. In closing, he extended a warm invitation to Mr. Philp, assuring him that he will always have a home in Papua New Guinea and is welcome to return at any time.