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Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Justin Tkatchenko MP co-chaired the 29th Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum with Foreign Affairs Counterpart Senator Penny Wong this morning in Canberra, Australia, which was the first forum hosted in-person meeting since 2019.

Before co-conducting the forum, Minster Tkatchenko attended the PNG-Australia Business Council Breakfast at the Australian National Parliament House where he was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso MP and other ministers including High Commissioner to Australia Mr. John Kali.

The breakfast was then followed by an official bilateral meeting between Minister Tkatchenko and Senator Wong before both leaders officially opened the dialogue for the ministerial forum that comprised of 16 Ministers from Papua New Guinea and nine (9) Ministers from the Australian Government.

Representing the PNG team:

1. Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Labour & Immigration Hon. John Rosso

2. Minster for Internal Security Hon. Peter Tsiamalili Jr. MP

3. Minister for Defence Hon. Win Daki MP

4. Minister for Education Hon. Jimmy Uguro MP

5. Minister for Health Hon. Dr. Lino Tom MP

6. Minister for International Trade & Investment Hon. Richard Maru MP

7. Minister for State Investments Hon. William Duma MP

8. Minister for Treasury Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey MP

9. Minister for Finance Hon. Rainbo Paita MP

10. Minister for Agriculture Hon. Aiye Tambua MP

11. Minister for Fisheries & Marine Resources Hon. Jelta Wong MP

12. Minister for Civil Aviation Hon. Sekie Agisa MP

13. Minister for Environment & Conservation Hon. Simon Kilepa MP

14. Minister for Forestry Hon. Salio Waipo MP

15. Minister for Community Development, Youth & Religion Hon. Jason Peter

16. Vice Minister for International Trade Hon. Kessy Sawang

Representing the Australian team:

1. Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Defence Hon. Richard Marles MP

2. Minister for Immigration Hon. Andrew Giles MP

3. Minister for Defence Industry Hon. Pat Conroy MP

4. Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Claire O’Neil MP

5. Minister for Industry & Energy Hon. Chris Bowen MP

6. Minister for Finance Hon. Katy Gallagher MP

7. Minister for Trade & Tourism Hon. Don Farrell MP

8. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Hon. Murray Watt MP

High on the agenda of the forum was the Comprehensive Strategic & Economic Partnership, Security Cooperation which included Regional Security Outlook, the Bilateral Security Treaty, Policing, Defence, Border and Maritime Security and Climate Change.

Also on the agenda was the Economic & Development Cooperation which included Macroeconomic Policy, Trade & Investment, Agriculture, Visa Access, Labour Mobility, Infrastructure, Health & Education, Gender and Sports.

In his opening remarks Minister Tkatchenko stressed the importance of finalizing negotiations of The Bilateral Security Treaty between both countries.

“Co-Chair, against the backdrop of our two new governments, in both our two countries from their electoral process, the Australian and Papua New Guinea Prime Ministers in their Annual Leaders Dialogue on the 12th of January 2023, have escalated the agenda on a secure society and resilience-based economies, entrusted the Foreign Ministers of the two countries to oversee negotiations on a bilateral security treaty, arising from Pillar 4 of the Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership (CSEP).”

“I am pleased to note that our senior officials met this week to discuss a zero draft of the proposed treaty.”

“The discussions were held around potential objectives, scope and structure of the treaty drawing from the desires and intention of the two leaders in their dialogue.”

“This treaty will be a progressive reflection of the maturity and diversification of the two countries relations in the dynamic bilateral and regional environment and being cognizant of their shared history, geographical proximity and close people to people links.”

“As equal partners, the treaty will speak to a broadening of the meaning of security to cover cooperation in many new and emerging areas including assistance by both countries to enhance their sovereignty and resilience, contribute to regional peace and prosperity and take forward their commitment to a “Pacific Family First” approach to regional security.”

“As partners with a long shared history in our increasing and diversifying relations, this new partnership is not directed at any third country.”

“As desired by our two Prime Ministers, we Minsters asked senior officials to conclude the treaty negotiations by 30th April 2023,” Minister Tkatchenko said.

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