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The PNG-Australia Development partnership

By Stephanie Copus Campbell

Stephanie Copus-Campbell brings a deep knowledge and passion about Papua New Guinea (PNG) to her work.

In this ASPI Strategic Insight, she describes both her personal history with this key neighbour to Australia’s north and the complex, difficult challenges PNG faces. 

Refreshingly, she uses this context to propose a redesign of Australian development engagement with PNG, which is particularly timely and needed as the Australian and PNG governments contemplate further cooperation flowing on from the initiatives agreed with Port Moresby in Canberra’s ‘Pacific step up’.

Her proposed approach is based on spending a lot more time ‘listening and not telling’—and not assuming that what works in Australia will also work in PNG. She advocates using Australia’s development program to mitigate risks to our own national interests by helping PNG realise real outcomes: shifting from vaccinating kids to not having polio, and from training teachers and building classrooms to seeing kids graduate who can read and write and are prepared for the world of technology.