Sunday, July 05, 2015

Speech by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at the XV Pacific Games Opening Ceremony

The people of Papua New Guinea welcome to our nation, and our capital city, visitors from our 24 Games nations.
We also welcome Your Royal Highness, the Duke of York, to once again open the Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
I know that these Games will be the best ever and many new records will be set.
The sporting facilities that we have built for these games are world-class, and they will continue to benefit our region for generations to come.
They are also a demonstration of the change that is taking place, and the new standards that are being set in the Pacific.
Today we are living in the Asia-Pacific Century - with global economic growth and development centred on our part of the world.
This is a great time to live in the Pacific – we have a great future ahead of us.
The Pacific Games brings together over 3,000 athletes participating in 28 team and individual sports.
But the Pacific Games is about more than a sports competition.
It is all about people – about the athletes, about the coaches, the officials and millions of supporters all around the world watching these Games.
The Games bring our vast region together and builds strong bonds between people, between teams and nations.
On behalf of Papua New Guinea and its citizens, thank you to the Games Organising Committee and the very strong sponsors of these games.
But more importantly, let me thank the thousands of volunteers, thousands of workers and officials who have worked very hard over the past three years to make this Games a success. 
Please enjoy the Games and please make many great memories out of it.
I hope all visitors experience the warmth of the welcome my fellow citizens will extend to each of you.
Good luck to the athletes from every country – please make us all proud.
May God be with you.
Thank you very much.

Friday, July 03, 2015

PM O’Neill switches on additional 25MW electricity for Port Moresby

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill launched a 25 megawatts power supply from the ExxonMobilLNG Plant to Port Moresby yesterday.
In his address celebrate the switching on of power, he said the additional 25 megawatts of electricity would meet demand in Port Moresby with an increased 50 megawatts capacity to be added later this year.
O'Neill thanked everyone involved in the project that was delivered in five months after the signing of an MOU with ExxonMobil PNG in January 2015.
He also thanked the provinces and governors' who supported the Government in delivering this project.
O'Neill said Papua New Guinea was a nation that was changing very fast.
"As quality of life improves, the demand for a reliable supply of reliable power is one of those first priorities of a growing economy and a growing middle class," he said.
"Also in many of our remote villages throughout the country, and in rural communities, more people have access to modern technology like computers and smart phones and they also need reliable power supplies.
"In one generation we have moved from a traditional culture to become a modern economy.  Our nation is now an energy exporter, we are active in global financial markets, and our agricultural products are exported around the world.
"Around our country businesses continue to expand and require greater access to electricity, from the smallest business to major international corporations.
"I thank ExxonMobil PNG for the leadership and support provided in resolving one of the most important challenges that Papua New Guinea faces as we seek to increase the reliability of supply of electricity.
O'Neill said the completion of the power project was a result of a partnership between all stakeholders, Government, ExxonMobil PNG, Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC), PNG National Petroleum Company (PNPC) and PNG Power Ltd.
"This truly has been a magnificent partnership, that we have displayed in making sure that we work with all stakeholders in ensuring that we have these project delivered on time," he said.






Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PM O’Neill officially opens Games Village

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill officially opened the XV Pacific Games Village yesterday at the University of Papua New Guinea, Waigani Campus.
The Prime Minister said after their use for athletes at the Games, the facilities will stand for decades in support of education in Papua New Guinea.
"These facilities are not only going to serve these one off event of the Games, they will be passed on for the education of future young leaders and citizens of our country," O'Neill said.
"There will be close to 4,000 students using these facilities into the future.
"We are going to work with the university in making sure that we have the maintenance and the management of these facilities, so that we can maintain the standards we all expect.
"We will not be in the culture of letting them run down and then look for things to be rebuilt.  We must maintain it so that it can last a long time."
During his inspection of the facility the Prime Minister met a number of representatives from games countries who were already using the facilities and he wished them well in their competition.
"We must stand together and support not only our athletics but please, extend the same support to all the other athletes that are going to come and join us.
"They are our visitors, and we must never forget our Melanesian way of welcoming visitors.
"We must look after them, making sure that they all return home safely."
O'Neill said the completion of the facilities is a testament to the commitment of the people involved to deliver the infrastructure.
"Thank you very much for all the hard work that contractors and everyone involved has put in."

PNG seeks to have lawyers on SBS to be investigated by Australian authorities

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has asked the Minister for Foreign affairs, and the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, to engage with relevant Australian law enforcement authorities to investigate comments made by two lawyers that were aired on overseas media in the past week.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Rimbink Pato CMG MP, and the Attorney General, Hon. Ano Pala MP, will now seek to have the claims, that were aired on SBS television, to be investigated in both the Papua New Guinea and Australian jurisdictions.
"The comments made by the two men in question (Greg Sheppard and Harvey Maladina) are alarming and are the subject of investigation in Papua New Guinea,"  O'Neill said.
"I have sought advice on the most effective way to have these claims investigated from all angles and now we are seeking to ensure that this process takes place in both countries relevant to the claims.
"It is not for the Government to judge these individuals, and all people are innocent until proven guilty before the law, but suggestions of money laundering involving high level officials must be properly investigated.  
"Now I expect relevant authorities will undertake their independent investigations and pursue the course of action that they see most appropriate."
The Prime Minister said beyond any legal proceedings, the claims made in the SBS story feed into an old stereotypical view of Papua New Guinea that had developed after Independence.
"For decades Papua New Guinea suffered at the hands of foreign and local people who sought to take advantage of the then young nation.  We called them spivs and carpet baggers and over the course of time legislation has been introduced to stop these activities.
"Papua New Guinea of today is a country where there are checks and balances, where digital fingerprints are a tool of investigation and where we have access to the resources of international law enforcement to prevent illicit financial activities.
"We are part of a global legal and economic system where illegal practices of the past can be identified and dealt with."
The Prime Minister called for patience as relevant authorities undertake thorougher investigations.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

O’Neill Opens Taurama Sporting Centre

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has officially opened the new Taurama Sporting Centre in preparation for the XV Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
In opening the new centre, that includes swimming and indoor sporting facilities, the Prime Minister said as the largest Pacific Island nation, Papua New Guinea must take a leadership role.
"Let us show leadership, not just in words but in deeds, to advance our region and help countries around the Pacific," he said. 
"The Taurama Sport Centre must be a centre for sporting excellence well beyond the Games, and draw athletes from around the Pacific to pursue their sporting dreams.
"The facilities here will be here for the sporting men and women of Pacific countries to make a sporting career."
O'Neill highlighted criticism made by individuals who sought to undermine the nation's chances to deliver a successful Games.
"Our Government inherited the commitments of the past government to host the Pacific Games, and we had to honour these commitments.
"I thank all those who have put in great effort in the hard work, leadership and delivery of the infrastructure for the games."
The Prime Minister undertook a tour of the sporting centre that includes a stainless steel swimming pool.  
This is only one of two pool of this quality in the Southern Hemisphere, with the other being in Melbourne.

Prime Minister O’Neill outraged and saddened by terror sttacks

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill has expressed outrage and sadness following a series of terror attacks that occurred in France, Tunisia and Kuwait.
"This is senseless violence that serves no purpose," O'Neill said.
"We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of these attacks.
"People from the United Kingdom, Kuwait, France, Belgium, Tunisia and Germany are known to be among the dead and injured, and to each of these countries, Papua New Guinea offers its sympathy and support.
"These attacks, that have occurred during the Muslim holy month, are particularly disheartening to people in the affected countries.
"In our places of worship, I hope Papua New Guineans will pray for the families of those affected by this violence."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

PM O’Neill welcomes ExxonMobil President

Prime Minster Peter O'Neill has welcomed the visit by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil Corporation, Rex W. Tillerson, and senior executives who visited Papua New Guinea this week.
The Prime Minister met with Tillerson at a welcome function in Port Moresby on Wednesday, where  Tillerson introduced the board of directors who had travelled from the United States.
O'Neill thanked the ExxonMobil executives for the contribution the company has made to national economic development.
"On behalf of our Government and the people of Papua New Guinea, I would like to thank you for your commitment to our nation," he said.
"Your board of directors, management and staff have demonstrated your confidence in our country and this has delivered a world-class project for Papua New Guinea.
"This project has been delivered ahead of time and on budget and we appreciate your dedication to achieving this outcome."
The Prime Minister said ExxonMobil had demonstrated a clear understanding of the practicalities of working in a land as diverse as PNG.
"We appreciate the approach you took in dealing with landowners and other stakeholders.
"This was respectful and engaging, and the project was better for these considerations."
O'Neill said one of the important benefits of the construction phase was the chance to increase the skill levels of workers involved in the project.
"What has made a difference for us is the quality of work that has been developed under your guidance.
"Thousands of people who worked on the PNG-LNG construction phase have increased their skill levels.  
"Many have now moved on to other jobs where their new skills have been recognised and they are taking home a higher income for their families.
"This increased skill level further adds to economic growth and has led to an increase in the quality of work in many sectors related to the LNG project.
"Ultimately, the partnership we have with ExxonMobil is strong and is based on mutual trust and we look forward to a long term engagement with your company."
The visiting delegation visited some of ExxonMobil's operations in PNG.
ExxonMobil Corporation employs around 75,000 globally.  Their operations in PNG employ more than 2,100 people, with 70 percent Papua New Guinean.

PM O'Neill's speech delivered at MSG Leaders' Farewell Dinner - Mendana Hotel - June 25, 2015

Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama,
The Chairman of FLNKS, Victor Tutugoro and, of course,
The Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Vanuatu.
Honorable Ministers of State,
Members of the Diplomatic Corp
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Firstly, let me take this opportunity to thank the Government of Solomon Islands for hosting this very important meeting for the Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders.
It has been a successful meeting. One we feel is historic in nature. This is a region that is starting to capture some of the challenging issues Melanesian countries have had for many years. We are a group that thrives on potential and thrives on consultation, living as one Melanesian Community in the region.
But we have to be responsive to the issues that are brought up to the Leaders by our communities.
As a Melanesian Group, it is important that we hear what our communities are demanding.
Today's decision to include our Melanesian brothers and sisters from Indonesia is one that is very historic. We, hereby, welcome them to our Melanesian Family.
As everyone else in the region, we want the same things. We want peace, we want security and we want better standards of living for our families.
It is important as a region that we continue to work together in achieving goals that our people expect of us.
Papua New Guinea is achieving many of the security that it requires for the better standards of living for its people through many initiatives our government has been implementing over the last three and a half years.
Our government continues to grow on an average of 9% per annum over the last 14 years. That is enabling us to address many challenges like education, health and infrastructure development, with a given population rise, which I must frankly say, is quite challenging.
But, Papua New Guinea has been able to put an extra one million children to school over the last four years.
Papua New Guinea is expanding its health care to many remote communities throughout the country.
Papua New Guinea today is investing more in infrastructure than it has ever done in history – investing close to 30 per cent of its budget.
Papua New Guinea is putting close to 25 per cent of its budget into rural communities, directly to the districts throughout the country.
As a result of that, we are lifting the standards of living for our people. We are educating them, we are providing them with better health care and that is a desire, I know, all Melanesian countries in the region want.
We want the same for our brothers and sisters in the Melanesian provinces, across the border. That is why today's decision is an historic one, that we should be proud of, and I also want take the opportunity to thank the Indonesian Government for the strong support that they have given in some of the ways forward that we are seeking.
And, of course, we thank all the officials, who have worked tirelessly in ensuring that we come to an amicable arrangement.
This is just the start, where I know, more can be achieved by working together with many of our partners and, of course, many of our neighbors.
Finally, Papua New Guinea, is going to host some major regional events in the next few months and years.
We are going to host the Pacific Games, next month, and I expect to see each and every one of you in Papua New Guinea. We look forward to welcoming you. It is going to be a first-class Pacific sporting event.
We have also invested substantial funds into getting first-class infrastructure for you to enjoy.
We are also going to host the 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting in September this year between 7th and 11th.
Please come and join us so that we can address the challenges we face as a region.
In 2018, we are going to host 50 per cent of the world's economic leaders, representing 22 countries in the Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC), which will be held for the first time in the Pacific.
Again, we expect all the Pacific Island Leaders to come and join us so that we can together and voice our concerns of the Pacific to the rest of the global community, so that it can be heard.
Tomorrow, Papua New Guinea will be opening its Papua New Guinea Chancery here and we look forward to you joining us in that occasion also.
Once again, thank you very much to the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands and its leaders, its Cabinet, its government for hosting this very successful meeting and we look forward to seeing you all, next month, on July 4 and in September.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Breakthrough in engaging with Indonesia’s Melanesian provinces

"Today is very a important day for peace and goodwill for our Brothers and Sisters living in Indonesia's Melanesian provinces," Papua New guinea's Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill said as he left the meeting of Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders in Honiara.
"Following discussion between the Leaders of Melanesian Spearhead Group countries, the groups has decided that Indonesia is to be admitted to MSG as an associate member, and be represented by the elected leaders of these Melanesian provinces.
Further to this, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) will be given observer status as a development partner representing the welfare of Melanesian people living outside.
" Papua New Guinea welcomes the decision that reaffirms representation at the sub-regional level must be made by mandated leaders that have been elected by their people.
"This decision by MSG will pave the way for Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to engage in consultation within the framework of agreement with Indonesia.
"I look forward to having deeper conversations with Indonesia and in the true spirit of being part of a regional family.
"We are all partners in facilitating peace and security in our region.
"I believe we have the respect of Indonesia for the honesty and genuine nature of our offer to offer cooperation on this sensitive, issue.  I further believe that groups such as ULMWP appreciate that our intentions are genuine.
"Soon after coming to office I began a dialogue with then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and now continue with President Joko Widodo."

O'Neill arrives in Honiara for MSG Leaders' Summit

Expanding engagement with and empowering Papuans living in Indonesia to be more active in the regional economy is one of the main tropics of discussion at the 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders' Summit taking place in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, today.
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea,  Peter O'Neill, arrived in Honiara today saying he is looking forward to fruitful discussions with his counterparts.
"I have expressed my concerns in relation to the protection of life and the preservation of communities for our Papuan Brothers and Sisters in Indonesia," O'Neill said from Honiara.
"All parties to these MSG discussions appeared to arrive with the similar outlook - a shared perspective that we need to have clear and open dialogue in order to advance these issues.
"I anticipate this spirit of engagement will continue and we will work together to alleviate concerns."
The event has the theme "Building a stronger Melanesia in the Pacific where peace, progress and prosperity is ensured and sustained for all."  
Another issue to be discussed include expanding connectivity through increased transportation linkages between MSG countries.  Leaders are also looking at ways to further increase MSG engagement on social, cultural and environmental issues.
"MSG remains a very important sub-regional forum.
"Our island countries are of similar outlook and we have shared concerns when it comes to how we will be affected by climate change or a disaster such as a pandemic virus.
Prior to the Leaders convening their Retreat, the outgoing Chair from FLNKS,' Victor Tutugoro, held an official hand-over ceremony for the incoming Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare as the Chair.
The brief ceremony was witnessed by the other three Leaders, including O'Neill, at the Heritage Park Hotel.
O'Neill is expected to officially open the Papua New Guinea Chancery in Honiara, tomorrow followed by the presentation of K20 million grant-in-aid.

Micah attends opening of MSG Leaders' Summit in Honiara

HONIARA: Minister Public Enterprises and State Investment, Hon. Ben Micah, yesterday arrived in the capital of Solomon Islands to attend the official opening of the 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders' Summit.
The opening ceremony was held at the Solomon Islands National Museum Outdoor Auditorium, where many unique traditional dances and cultural exchange of gifts were conducted in the true Melanesian Spirit.
Minister Micah attended the ceremony on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, who was unable to make it due to other important national commitments.
"I am humbly honoured to have attended this opening ceremony on behalf of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, and in representation of the people of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea,"  Micah said.
He also expressed PNG Government's ongoing efforts in further enhancing connectivity and cooperation with all the MSG countries throughout the region.
Micah was later in the day joined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato, where they attended a State Dinner hosted by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, at the Honiara Hotel.
O'Neill arrives in the Solomon Islands today to attend the actual MSG Leaders Summit, including the Leaders' Retreat and the Plenary, in the coming days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Foreign Ministers’ Meeting concludes in Honiara

HONIARA: The Foreign Ministers' Meeting (FMM) has been successfully concluded and preparations for the 20th Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Leaders Summit are currently underway.
During these preparations, recommendations have been developed from related meetings including measures to further strengthen the MSG 2038 Prosperity For All Plan, and the observers and associated members' status, which will be submitted to the MSG Leaders for their consideration.
Representing Papua New Guinea at the FMM was the Acting Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs, William Dihm, who participated in the conclusion and signing of its outcomes.
"MSG continues to remain a significant forum to promote collective sub-regional agendas of the group within the framework of the MSG 2038 Prosperity For All Plan.
" Thus, I thank the hard working members of the recently held Senior Officials Meeting for deliberating on the issues and setting the agendas for the Ministers, also aligned with the very fitting theme for the 20th MSG Leaders' Summit and other related meetings," Secretary Dihm said.
He said the theme 'Let us build a strong Melanesia in the Pacific where peace, progress and prosperity is ensured and sustained for all' reinforces PNG's desire to practically and meaningfully assist in the implementation of the various programs undertaken by the MSG Secretariat.
"PNG will continue to work closely with all regional partners including the MSG through constructive engagement and these include extending development cooperation to Small Island states, business, cultural integration, education and employment opportunities, consistent with our fundamental Melanesian principles of sharing and caring.
"We are also aware of the MSG Secretariat's plans to open up more economic corridors to advance and promote trade, investment, business and tourism opportunities, among MSG countries," Mr Dihm said.
On the PNG-Indonesian relations, Mr Dihm said it remains complex given the wide range of issues affecting the two countries; nonetheless, our already robust ties have continued to be enhanced over the last 40 years.
"On the issue of MSG membership, we have noted the recommended processes guiding the screening potential of applicants and that their admission must be addressed responsibly so as to foster cooperation and connectivity and be endorsed by the MSG leadership," Mr Dihm said.
He also acknowledged that the Port Moresby Declaration signed by the MSG Trade Ministers during their meeting in November 2014 underscores the significance of connectivity through aviation and shipping links and reiterated PNG Government's commitment to support in funding the MSG shipping study to give effect to this declaration.
The official opening ceremony for MSG Leaders' Summit will be held today (24/06/15) at the National Museum Outdoor Auditorium in the capital of the Solomon Islands, where the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare will officially welcome the MSG Leaders.
The 20th MSG Leaders' Summit commences tomorrow at the Heritage Park Hotel.