The Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill met today in Vietnam in the margins of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
During the meeting, both Prime Ministers committed to working together to lay a new undersea high speed telecommunications cable from Australia to Port Moresby, supporting the future digital economy in Papua New Guinea and facilitating closer economic integration between the two neighbours.
Australia will deliver and majority fund the undersea cable, with a financial co-contribution from Papua New Guinea, and is in discussions with an experienced Australian telecommunications infrastructure specialist.
The undersea cable will provide significant improvements in internet reliability and quality in Papua New Guinea, providing substantial economic and development benefits.
Prime Minister Turnbull said that “Australia’s firm support for this project is a reflection of our strong relationship with Papua New Guinea, and our desire to build an even closer economic partnership into the 21st century”.
Prime Minister O’Neill said that “the laying of the new telecommunications cable will have a positive impact on business engagement in the country and significant social benefits.
“We are continuing to expand the use of the internet in education, as well as the application of digital technologies in the delivery healthcare.
“We thank Australia for partnering with Papua New Guinea on this project that is very important for ongoing economic development.”
The project will be well underway during Papua New Guinea’s hosting year of APEC in 2018 with the theme of ‘Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future’.
Australia has also been in close discussions with the Solomon Islands Government about laying a similar undersea cable from Australia to Honiara. Both Papua New Guinea and Australia are committed to working with Solomon Islands to lay the undersea cables at the same time, allowing Solomon Islands to reap the same economic and development benefits of fast and reliable telecommunications.
As close neighbours and friends, Papua New Guinea and Australia are committed to supporting inclusive economic growth in the Pacific, including through better internet connectivity, which is a significant driver for productivity and development.