Sunday 08 Dec 2019 | 06:49 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

About the project

The Australia-Papua New Guinea Network is an initiative to build stronger people-to-people and foster links between business in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Latest publications

Pacific links: Climate change, China in PNG, Fiji self-censors and more

By Harriet Smith, an intern with the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.

Main photo: Pexels/8551 images CCO Public Domain

Pacific Island links: 2017 predictions, PNG uni places, internet cables and more

Pacific Island links: Tourism in PNG, gender-based violence, bans on home births, and more


Photo: Flickr/Taro Taylor

The Embarrassed Colonialist

Forty years after independence, Papua New Guinea is the largest single recipient of aid from Australia. Yet Australians seem to be largely ambivalent about the country. Few Australians know the history of our colonial rule in PNG and our ties to the country are being forgotten.



2015 Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue: Outcomes Report

In this Report, the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia team summarises the outcomes of the third annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue. The Dialogue assembled a group of dynamic young leaders from diverse fields in both countries. Discussion focused on redefining employment, sustaining rural communities, engaging Asia, and gender inequality. The young leaders used the Dialogue to make new professional connections and are already collaborating to enhance existing initiatives that prove the enduring value of people-to-people relations between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Papua New Guinea in 2015: at a crossroads and beyond

2015 is a significant year for Papua New Guinea.  The country will mark 40 years of independence from Australia, host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting and the Pacific Games.  The Papua New Guinea economy will record the highest GDP growth rate in the world in 2015 but will also formally fail to meet any of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals in their deadline year.

The Papua New Guinea government has introduced tuition fee free education and free healthcare but faces major challenges in improving the living standards of its population of over seven million people.  The resources boom has helped drive investment in infrastructure but catering for the nation’s growing youth bulge is proving a particularly difficult policy problem.  Changes to the way different levels of government are being administered could improve service delivery in rural areas but have the potential to undermine national development planning.  The next generation of leaders will face an even more complex set of challenges. 

The Papua New Guinea economy is reliant on foreign investment in the resources sector and therefore highly exposed to the global economy.  This was to Papua New Guinea’s advantage while demand for its resources and global commodity prices were high during the resources boom. But even with fourteen years of successive GDP growth, it has proved difficult to spread the benefits of the boom.  A major challenge for the next generation of leaders in Papua New Guinea will be to better manage the nation’s wealth and effectively implement policies and programs that will result in improved living standards for all Papua New Guineans.

These were among the key conclusions reached by thirty participants at a Roundtable meeting, Papua New Guinea in 2015 – At a crossroads and beyond, convened by the Lowy Institute for International Policy on 28 April 2015.

Participants included representatives from business, government, civil society, academia and the media –  from Australia and from Papua New Guinea.  Discussion focused on challenges for the next generation of leaders in Papua New Guinea and future directions for Australia-Papua New Guinea relations.