PNG to receive ‘biggest slice’ of Australian finance

MV Paga (left) dressed in nautical flags.

Papua New Guinea has been allocated the biggest slice — around 70 percent — of the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), according to the Australian government.

Australia’s minister for international development and the Pacific Pat Conroy revealed this in Port Moresby on Tuesday when the PNG Ports Corporation christened the K4.83 million (US$1.3 million) pilot boat, MV Paga.

“This project is a flagship of the AIFFP (AU$621 million – about K1.4 billion) to modernise and upgrade ports in PNG that are critical to your Connect PNG initiative,” Conroy said.

“And of the AU$1 billion (about K2.26 billion) that we have expanded in the AIFFP, AU$700 million (about K1.58 billion) or 70 per cent of it has gone to PNG.”

He said Australia and PNG “have so much in common”.

“We are closest neighbours – 4km apart,” he said.

“Today is a great example of that economic cooperation where we can grow together.”

Conroy paid tribute to the late PNG Ports chief executive officer Fego Kiniafa.

“I know Fego was instrumental in driving this financial package and he will be solely missed,” he said.

“This is a tribute to his work and the PNG Ports Corporation.”

Conroy is the third Australian minister to visit PNG in the past eight months. The others are Penny Wong and Richard Marles.

The MV Paga is the third boat built and delivered by the Brisbane-based boat makers, Norman Wright & Sons. Two similar boats, Siabo and Davage, were delivered last year and currently used for pilotage services at the Motukea Port.