By Delly Bagu – EM TV, Port Moresby
Australia has announced its support to the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville through key services.
Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, was recently in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
She met with President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Dr John Momis.
Ms Bishop announced an expansion of Australia’s support for the maintenance of vital road infrastructure; one of which, is over 400 kilometres of its 600 kilometres-long main road network.
About 80 per cent of Bougainville’s 300,000 population, schools, and health facilities are located along these roads.
The Australian government will extend the road maintenance program into Buin in South Bougainville, to help unlock the economic potential in the area.
Funding will also be provided to reseal roads in Arawa, Central Bougainville.
Ms Bishop also launched a mobile community radio service together with President Momis and New Zealand High Commissioner, Tony Fautua.
Funded by the Australian and New Zealand governments, the project will increase radio reach outside of Buka town.
The mobile radio will play a key role in facilitating dialogue and debate between communities and the government. This will open a new window for a referendum on Bougainville’s future, under the Bougainville Peace Agreement.