30th Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum Joint Communiqué

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  1. The 30th Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum was held in Port Moresby on 19 June 2024 and was co-chaired by the Hon. Justin Tkatchenko MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea and by Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia.
  2. Other participating Ministers for Papua New Guinea were: Hon. John Rosso, MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Lands, Physical Planning, Urbanisation and Immigration; Hon. Dr. Billy Joseph (MD), MP, Minister for Defence; Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jnr, MP, Minister for Internal Security; Hon. Pila Niningi, LLM, MP, Minister for Justice and Attorney General; Hon. William Duma, MP, Minister for Public Enterprise & State Investments; Hon. Jelta Wong, MP, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources; Hon. Simo Kilepa, MP, Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change; Hon. Sir Ano Pala, LLB, ISO, CMG, OBE, MP, Minister for National Planning; Hon. Timothy Masiu, MP, Minister for Information and Communication Technology; Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey, CMG, MP, Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Treasury and Caretaker Minister for Finance; and Hon. Lucas Dekena, MP, Minister for Education and Caretaker Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and Sports.
  3. Other participating Ministers for Australia were: the Hon Richard Marles MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence; the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, Attorney-General; Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Minister for Emergency Management; the Hon Clare O’Neil MP, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Cyber Security; the Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for Defence Industry, Minister for International Development and the Pacific; and, Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade, Assistant Minister for Manufacturing.
  4. Ministers welcomed the 30th PNG-Australia Ministerial Forum as a marker of the relationship between close neighbours, friends and equal partners. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP), and to ensuring the relationship continues to grow to reflect contemporary opportunities and challenges. They endorsed the second CSEP Action Plan agreed between senior officials at the 30th Papua New Guinea Australia Senior Officials Meeting on 29 November 2023.
  5. Australia expressed condolences to the people of PNG and extended sympathies to those impacted by the landslide in Enga Province. Ministers acknowledged the work of the PNG National Disaster Centre and Enga Provincial Administration, and the valuable and rapid support provided to the impacted communities by the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) and Australian Defence Force (ADF), in responding to the landslide. PNG Ministers extended their gratitude to Australia for always being the first respondent to any natural calamity and for its deployment of AUD2.5 million in humanitarian assistance for emergency supplies, support for humanitarian partners and the deployment of a 17-member Disaster Assistance Response Team. Ministers agreed to continue deepening linkages between Australian and PNG disaster response agencies, including for capacity building.
  6. Ministers noted the significant achievements since the 2023 Ministerial Forum, including exchange of Prime Ministerial visits in both countries. They welcomed the signing of the landmark Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by Prime Ministers Albanese and Marape in December 2023. Ministers committed to take forward outcomes from the 2024 Annual Leaders Dialogue.

CSEP Pillar 1 – Strong Democracies for a Stable Future

  1. Ministers acknowledged the two countries’ shared commitment to functional and accountable democratic systems. PNG welcomed Australia’s ongoing support for PNG’s electoral reform priorities, as recommended by the Special Parliamentary Committee on the 2022 National General Election and endorsed by the PNG Parliament.
  2. Ministers recognised that because their security interests are shared including by virtue of geographic proximity, decisions taken by one country affect the security of the other. Acknowledging their countries’ enduring interest in the stability, security, prosperity and resilience of each other, Ministers welcomed progress towards entry into force of the BSA. They committed to completing their respective domestic processes for entry into force this year, and undertook to work closely together to implement the BSA, including through the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Security and the Bilateral Security Dialogue. Ministers reiterated their commitment to continuing to work together to respond to current and emerging security challenges by maintaining and enhancing bilateral cooperation and their security partnership in accordance with their respective constitutions and national laws.
  3. Ministers reiterated the need to prioritise gender equality, to further expand the gender and social inclusion partnership, and to address family, sexual and sorcery accusation related violence. Ministers welcomed progress on Australia’s five-year investment, PNG Women Lead, to support the expansion of women’s leadership in PNG and to combat gender-based violence.
  4. Ministers reflected on Australia and PNG’s longstanding and proud history of contributing to collective Pacific security responses, including in support of the Biketawa Declaration and Boe Declaration on Regional Security, demonstrated when personnel from both countries worked side by side during the 2024 Solomon Islands general election and the 2023 Pacific Games in Solomon Islands. They looked forward to building stronger regional response capabilities in consultation with other Pacific island countries, including in policing through the Police Recruit and Investigations Training Facility and the Pacific Response Group initiative. Ministers welcomed PNG’s leadership in the Pacific Policing Initiative (PPI), and hosting of the Joint Heads of Pacific Security meeting in 2025.
  5. Ministers welcomed deeper cooperation under the BSA, including the rapid implementation of the AUD200 million support package announced by Prime Ministers in December 2023. They noted progress underway to support PNG’s law and justice and internal security priorities, including the scaled-up Australia-PNG Law and Justice Partnership, commenced in January 2024.
  6. At the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Internal Security and Law and Justice (19 June), Ministers agreed ‘full-circle’ law and justice initiatives that will support PNG’s judicial, prosecutions and corrections systems, and improve access to justice for young people, and rural and regional communities. They welcomed Australia’s support for PNG authorities to address violence in PNG’s highlands provinces, including improving armoury record management for weapons stockpiles and to assist people affected by violence. Ministers also welcomed rapid progress on non-traditional security areas of cooperation in line with the BSA, including investments to improve climate resilience, cyber and biosecurity capacities and capabilities, address gender-based violence and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  7. Ministers noted the value of the current policing partnership including enhanced cooperation on policing infrastructure, capability, leadership and prosecutorial training for the Royal PNG Constabulary (RPNGC). Ministers welcomed early progress on the construction of new housing for police recruits in Port Moresby, with further housing to be built across 10 provinces. Ministers acknowledged the significance of working together in supporting policing operations in the Pacific region. Ministers agreed to improve cooperation and coordination across policing and law and justice institutions, avoiding conflicts between mandates and providing necessary resources and training to assist PNG to meet its internal security priorities and to strengthen its anti-corruption institutions, strengthen its anti-money laundering efforts and counter-terrorism financing regime, combat transnational crime and address other regional security threats.
  8. Australia reiterated its long-standing position that Bougainville’s future political status was a matter for PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government to resolve. Australia would continue to support the post-referendum process and stood ready to provide additional assistance upon request.

CSEP Pillar 2 – Close Friends, Enduring Ties

  1. Ministers reflected on the shared historical and cultural connections which have brought the nations together in a unique partnership, including the thousands of years of engagement between Papua New Guineans and the First Nations peoples in Australia, including as embodied by the Torres Strait Treaty.
  2. Ministers welcomed the deepening engagement and continuing goodwill between Australia and PNG, including Prime Minister Albanese becoming the first foreign leader to address Papua New Guinea’s Parliament in 2023, Prime Minister Marape becoming the first Pacific leader to address Australia’s Parliament in February 2024, and the Prime Ministers’ trek along parts of the Kokoda Track in April 2024. Ministers welcomed updates on joint initiatives to mark PNG’s 50th Anniversary of Independence in 2025. Ministers warmly welcomed plans to increase the number of volunteers to PNG under the Australian Volunteers Program over the next year, with volunteers deploying to Port Moresby, Lae, Buka and Goroka.
  3. Ministers noted Australia’s commitment to implement a First Nations approach to foreign policy and the inaugural visit to PNG by the Australian Ambassador for First Nations peoples in October 2023 to attend the World Indigenous Business Forum hosted by PNG. Ministers welcomed the fostering of further collaboration between Papua New Guineans and First Nations peoples in Australia, including in trade and investment, climate, sports, health, gender equality, and arts and cultural activities.
  4. Ministers shared PNG and Australia’s aspiration for PNG franchises in the National Rugby League (NRL) and National Women’s Rugby League (NRLW) recognising sports’ ability to unify people and deepen the friendship between the two countries. Ministers welcomed Australia’s support including an investment of $5 million in the PNG NRL bid Academy program to support talent pathways for young Papua New Guineans playing rugby league.

CSEP Pillar 3 – Economic Partnership for Prosperity

  1. Ministers welcomed the progress to ensure a mutually beneficial Australia-PNG Economic Partnership, following Leaders’ commitment to explore ways to boost economic growth and resilience, business ties, trade and investment. This included expanding First Nations opportunities as displayed at the World Indigenous Business Forum hosted by PNG in 2023. Ministers noted that officials are finalising the PNG-Australia Free Trade Agreement Feasibility Study which will assess the economies of both countries and explore possible new trade arrangements to boost trade and investment.
  2. Ministers welcomed the valuable input of the two business communities, represented by the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Council and the Business Council of Papua New Guinea, and delegates at the annual Australia-PNG Business Dialogue on 19 June 2024. Reflecting the significant role of business and industry, and the importance of Australia’s AUD26 billion worth of investments in PNG (2023), Ministers encouraged the business communities to consider the opportunities that PNG offered, including in downstream processing of agriculture, fisheries and forestry products, and the green economy. Consistent with the agreement in 2011, Ministers agreed senior officials and senior business representatives from both countries would meet ahead of the next Australia-PNG Business Dialogue to discuss and advise on opportunities and challenges in the business relationship.
  3. PNG welcomed Australia’s support for its priorities around the 13 year Budget Repair Plan. Ministers noted Australia’s cumulative budget loan support since the pandemic of over AUD2.5 billion, or PGK6.2 billion, linked to PNG’s own economic reform agenda. PNG is expected to repay PGK510 million in interest and principal of this vital budget support in 2024. With the declining need for budget support due to budget repair, Ministers agreed to examine if there were other ways of supporting PNG’s fiscal reform efforts. Ministers welcomed PNG’s ongoing commitment to its IMF Extended Credit Facility and Extended Fund Facility Program, noting that PNG’s commitments on debt sustainability through this program are important when considering the large pipeline of infrastructure financing proposals.
  4. Ministers welcomed ongoing cooperation on critical infrastructure investments including AUD200m of infrastructure delivered this year, and Australia’s commitment to over AUD2 billion of infrastructure investment delivered through the PNG-Australia Economic Partnership (transport, telecommunications, electrification, social infrastructure and State-Owned Enterprise reform) and the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility (ports, energy, telecommunication and roads). The AIFFP pipeline includes approximately AUD1 billion in grants and loans to support major capital projects in ports (AUD621 million), roads (AUD76 million) and electrification (AUD306 million) across PNG. Ministers welcomed the recent PIF Leaders agreement to the Pacific Quality Infrastructure Principles, reflecting the importance of ensuring infrastructure investments are climate resilient, support local jobs and employment, and are sustainably financed.
  5. Ministers agreed on the importance of assessing the foreign investment, economic viability and security implications of infrastructure proposals as part of critical infrastructure proposals and agreed to work together to build stronger investment screening structures that encourage foreign and domestic investment that is economically viable and secure. Noting increasing challenges associated with digital infrastructure, Ministers agreed to share greater information about critical infrastructure risks and to provide further capacity building in PNG including to Treasury, the Investment Promotion Authority and other relevant agencies to support the establishment of the investment screening structures. Ministers agreed on the importance of strong competition in both wholesale and retail telecommunications to increase private sector investment, reduce costs for businesses and consumers, and increase service reliability in PNG. Ministers also agreed to cooperate to strengthen PNG’s public procurement processes, particularly in tendering.
  6. Ministers highlighted progress on agricultural cooperation and recognised strong biosecurity systems and protocols as an essential prerequisite for boosting agricultural trade. PNG welcomed Australia’s commitment to a biosecurity twinning program between Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and PNG’s National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Agency (NAQIA) and support for the construction of a PCR laboratory at NAQIA to enhance biosecurity testing. Ministers recognised the importance of effective domestic and international agricultural supply chains in supporting food security and creating export opportunities.
  7. Ministers welcomed the achievement of all visa-related commitments made at the 29th Ministerial Forum. PNG welcomed Australia’s processing of at least 75 per cent of completed Papua New Guinean visitor visa applications within 14 days. PNG welcomed Australia’s establishment of the new Pacific Service Centre including the re-establishment of a visa processing capability in PNG with resources to facilitate and expedite visa processing and the improved and streamlined biometrics collection processes and arrangements. Ministers welcomed work to further streamline online visa lodgement arrangements for regular PNG travellers. Ministers noted that speedy and efficient visa arrangements would help enhance health, education, labour, business and investment pathways.
  8. Ministers welcomed Australia’s new Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) initiative for Pacific island countries and the opening of the inaugural PEV ballot on 3 June 2024. Ministers noted the importance of expanding opportunities for Papua New Guineans to enter the Australian labour market. Ministers agreed to cooperate to ensure integrity and minimise fraud or other compromises of their visa systems.
  9. Ministers committed to growing and strengthening PNG’s participation in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme, recognising the benefits for the PNG economy and communities and Australian employers. Ministers agreed to officials implementing a Joint Action Plan to Scale Up Labour Mobility reaffirming the two governments’ commitment and outlining concrete actions to advance PNG’s labour mobility objectives, including by strengthening PNG’s labour sending systems and its supply of labour and building demand for PNG workers, including through targeted skills investments. Ministers agreed officials will provide Ministers with six-monthly progress updates.

CSEP Pillar 4 – Strategic Cooperation for Security and Stability

  1. Ministers agreed that defence cooperation remains a vital pillar in our bilateral relationship. Ministers committed to deepening cooperation across the land, air and maritime domains, as well as continuing to work together on defence and security infrastructure, equipment, and capabilities. Both sides welcomed the PNGDF’s inaugural participation in the RAAF’s Exercise Pitch Black and the second iteration of bilateral Exercise Wantok Warrior in 2024. PNG welcomed Australia’s gifting of twelve up-armoured Land Cruisers, Australia’s conduct of Operation Render Safe in East New Britain and Bougainville, and Australia’s support to refurbish the Air Transport Wing Hangar in Port Moresby. Ministers welcomed Australia’s commitment to the ongoing sustainment and maintenance of the Lombrum Naval Base.
  2. Ministers agreed that the Defence Cooperation Program be jointly reviewed to ensure defence cooperation continues to focus on building PNG’s sovereign, independent capabilities, infrastructure and developing interoperability between the PNGDF and ADF. They agreed to explore opportunities and ways to deepen defence-to-defence and departmental ties.
  3. Ministers reaffirmed the ongoing close cooperation to address crime and safety issues impacting Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Blue Pacific, consistent with the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security. Ministers welcomed the new MoU on Police Cooperation, and the exchange of information signed between the AFP and RPNGC in April 2024.
  4. Ministers welcomed ongoing collaboration on joint border agency cooperation initiatives, including the gifting of PV Minigulai to enhance the security of the two countries’ common borders in the Torres Strait and broader resilience.
  5. Ministers acknowledged progress under the MOU on Cyber Cooperation between Australia and PNG, including engagements in PNG by Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology in May 2024. Ministers committed to cooperating on cyber security, cyber resilience and crisis response, including deployments of Rapid Assistance to Pacific Incidents and Disasters (RAPID) teams at the request of PNG. Ministers noted the international increased risk of cyber-attacks and recognised that cyber security settings and decisions on critical digital infrastructure impact national security.
  6. Ministers welcomed Australia’s support for PNG’s digitalisation agenda and adoption of cloud-based data solutions to improve cyber resilience, including funding for the development of a government cloud roadmap, scoping for the establishment of a PNG National Cyber Coordination Centre and planning for the next phase of PNG’s National Cyber Security Centre.
  7. PNG welcomed Australia’s update on the bid to host the 31st UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP31) in 2026 in partnership with Pacific countries. Ministers reiterated the commitment to work together to advocate for the bid. Ministers welcomed the launch of Climate FIRST, a new climate change investment aimed at increasing PNG’s access to global climate-financing and Australia’s foundational contribution to the Pacific Resilience Facility, which is expected to lay the foundation to attract investment by other countries.

CSEP Pillar 5 – Social and Human Development

  1. Ministers welcomed Australia’s enduring development partnership with PNG, with an estimated AUD637.4 million in total Official Development Assistance (ODA) to PNG in 2024-5. Ministers acknowledged the importance of resolving taxation issues to ensure efficient and effective use of Australian ODA, including through Designated Aid Status Certificates in compliance with respective treaty commitments and domestic processes.
  2. Ministers discussed bilateral priorities to be included in the Australia-PNG Development Partnership Plan 2024-2029, including their alignment with goals set out in PNG’s Vision 2050 and Medium-Term Development Plan IV and its emphasis on socio – economic development at the sub-national levels. Ministers acknowledged the extensive and valuable consultations on the Development Partnership Plan to date, and the opportunity presented through this process to drive deeper development cooperation and positive outcomes in health, education, climate, inclusion and protection of marginalised groups, embedding of First Nations perspectives, and empowerment of women and girls.
  3. Ministers emphasised the transformative opportunities available to PNG through quality education and affirmed that PNG’s own budget prioritisation of education remained critical to achieving a knowledge-based economy. Ministers welcomed Australia’s commitment to scale-up its education investment in PNG. Ministers celebrated the progress of the Partnerships for Improving Education (PIE) program.
  4. Ministers agreed on the importance of funding cost effective interventions to improve education outcomes in PNG as identified by the World Bank’s Papua New Guinea Economic Update May 2024: Invest in your Children. Ministers recognised the importance of increased financing in the education sector to support PNG’s goal of accessible, affordable and quality education for all in its Medium-Term Development Plan IV, and noted the two countries’ strong track record of collaboration on improving education outcomes. Ministers noted progress on co-badging Australia Awards as the Somare-Whitlam Awards in 2025 to commemorate PNG’s 50th anniversary of independence and design of a short course on the PNG-Australia relationship.
  5. Recognising the role of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) in increasing and upskilling workers in PNG, and supporting labour mobility pathways to seize domestic and international economic opportunities, Ministers welcomed the updated PNG-Australia Joint Statement of Intent on TVET in PNG. The Joint Statement, signed by Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific and PNG’s Minister for Higher Education reaffirms the two countries’ shared commitment to improving TVET outcomes, and reflects our research partnership and enduring ties for human development and economic prosperity. Ministers welcomed the joint commitment to biennial progress reports on implementation of the Statement at future Forums.
  6. Ministers discussed the wide-ranging cooperation between PNG and Australia in the health sector, a partnership that includes training, service delivery, infrastructure, and systems strengthening in all 22 provinces. Ministers welcomed Australia’s agreement to fund the construction, and provide ongoing commissioning support, for the Gware Wing of ANGAU Hospital – building on Australia’s significant earlier investment to redevelop the hospital.
  7. Ministers welcome deepened engagement on issues of democratic governance and service delivery. Building on more than 20 years of collaboration, the Churches Partnership Program is continuing to support Churches improve their capacity to deliver crucial health and education services, with a focus on community resilience, institutional capacity and policy advocacy.

CSEP Pillar 6 – Near Neighbours, Global Partners

  1. Ministers reiterated their responsibility, as the most populous members of the Pacific, to invest in regional peace, security, and economic resilience. They underscored the pre-eminence of Pacific-led and owned regional architecture, and acknowledged the critical role of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in setting and implementing the regional agenda through the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. Ministers acknowledged the importance of Australia and PNG working together to reinforce Pacific unity and encourage Pacific consensus through transparent and inclusive decision-making in regional forums.
  2. Ministers acknowledged the value of investing in Pacific-led responses to Pacific security challenges and in cooperation that enables the Pacific to meet its security needs as envisaged by PIF leaders. They commended the established practice of Papua New Guinea and Australia helping each other, and others in the region, at times of crisis.
  3. Ministers acknowledged the value of a Pacific voice at multilateral fora and agreed to work together to strengthen PNG’s representation.


This Joint Communiqué reflects discussions at the 30th Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 19 June 2024.

Agreed at: APEC Haus, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on: 19 June 2024

For the Government of Papua New Guinea

Hon Justin Tkatchenko MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

For the Government of Australia

Senator the Hon Penny Wong

Minister for Foreign Affairs

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