Gillard thanks PNG for assistance in combating people smuggling

Australia has acknowledged Papua New Guinea’s efforts to combat people smuggling and human trafficking.

Speaking during a bilateral meeting on Thursday (8/11/12), Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard thanked PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for PNG’s assistance to process boat people through the establishment of the Manus Asylum Seeker’s Processing Centre.

The two leaders met to discuss various matters including the progress on the Manus Island Refugee Processing Centre, the progress of Mr O’Neill’s new government, and an up-date on the 22 Women’s Reserved Seats Bill.

Mr O’Neill assured Ms Gillard of PNG’s readiness to support Australia.

He said there are ongoing positive political and legislative reforms that his government will be undertaking and he advised Ms Gillard about the handing down of the 2013 annual budget next week.

On the 22 Women’s Reserved Seat Bill, Mr O’Neill assured Ms Gillard that despite the lack of support from MPs to pass the Bill, his government strongly believes in empowering women to be equal participants in nation building.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will visit Canberra later this month, to address the Press Club on PNG’s political reforms, investment focus and an aim to change international media perception of PNG.

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