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Papua New Guinea


heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$495.6 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$577.1 million


Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea (PNG) is deep and wide-ranging, reflecting geographic proximity, historical links and a growing trade and investment relationship. PNG’s fertile land, rich mineral deposits and large oil and gas reserves are major sources of wealth to PNG. However, a lack of quality infrastructure, insecurity, low education levels and poor health services constrain economic development. Australia will provide greater support for private sector-led growth in PNG by improving the enabling environment for business; supporting rural livelihoods and income generating opportunities in the agriculture sector; strengthening technical vocational training institutions; and supporting infrastructure that will encourage economic growth. Australia will continue to invest in good governance, health and education, law and justice, and women’s empowerment as essential elements of inclusive economic growth and social stability in PNG.

Electoral Commission workers show local candidate posters at a poll booth in Port Moresby
Electoral Commission workers show local candidate posters at a poll booth in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (credit: ADF/DFAT).

Australia will support private sector-led growth through:

  • targeted aid-for-trade support to build PNG’s capacity to deal with cross-border trade issues and help access international markets; and support PNG’s preparations for hosting APEC in 2018
  • an innovation fund to support business to address market failures and support women’s economic empowerment
  • increased support for rural livelihood and income generating opportunities with a focus on developing markets in the agriculture sector
  • support for reconstruction and upgrading of key roads critical to supporting the PNG economy.

Australia will support effective governance by:

  • strengthening the PNG public service so that it is more effective and accountable, supporting communities in PNG to play a greater role in public decision making, and providing funding to the PNG Electoral Commission to plan and hold elections
  • helping the PNG Government develop stronger law and justice agencies so that communities will be safer. This includes building community confidence in PNG’s police, supporting police to detect, investigate and prosecute crime and supporting anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and proceeds of crime initiatives.
A group of schoolchildren reading a book

In PNG there are few functioning libraries outside the school system and most children do not have access to books at all (credit: DFAT).

Australia will invest in education and health to raise living standards for those who have not yet benefited from PNG’s economic growth, including by:

  • improving the quality and availability of basic, technical and university education to complement the PNG Government’s efforts to build the human capital required to meet private sector needs, with a particular emphasis on better education opportunities for girls
  • helping PNG develop a more skilled workforce by linking Australian and PNG institutions, such as universities, hospitals and police forces
  • providing opportunities to over 600 citizens for tertiary study in Australia and in PNG through the Australia Awards scholarships in 2014
  • improving maternal and child health and reducing communicable diseases by training health workers, upgrading health facilities and supporting the private sector to deliver services.

Australia will support women’s economic empowerment by:

  • supporting microfinance and savings activities, making marketplaces safer for women to do business, and supporting women in leadership in the PNG Government, private sector and civil society
  • working to combat violence against women by supporting the availability of justice services, training women in law and justice agencies and expanding the number of specialist police Family and Sexual Violence Units.

Three men looking at an engine
The Australia Pacific Technical College utilises existing workshops and training rooms in partnership with local industry to up skill local workers in trades (credit: DFAT).

A new direction for Australian aid in PNG: Refocusing Australian aid to help unlock PNG's economic potential

An assessment of the PNG aid program undertaken in early 2014 by the Australian Government considered ways in which Australia’s aid program could more closely align with both Governments’ priorities. This included options to better address key constraints to economic growth and equitable development in PNG. The recommendations of this aid assessment—which have been agreed by the Australian and PNG Governments—together with Australia’s new development policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability, will inform the direction of Australia’s aid program from 2014-15.

Read the aid assessment

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.


Results for 2012

  • In 2012, supported 19,823 supervised births.
  • Delivered essential medicines to more than 2,000 of PNG’s hospitals, health centres and aid posts.
  • Supported a national supplementary immunisation activity in 2012 that vaccinated over 500,000 children for measles and polio and over 1.2 million women for tetanus.
  • Trained 43 doctors, 30 specialists, 62 post-graduate nurses, 11 pharmacists and 41 lab technicians.
  • Helped over 81,000 people to find out their HIV status.
  • Distributed over 29 million condoms.


Results for 2012

  • Provided 116 newly-built classrooms, 50 teacher houses and 50 toilet blocks, enabling 3,400 students to attend school in a new classroom.
  • Contributed in part to the abolition of school fees for the first three grades of school in 2010, 2011 and 2012, which enabled more than 535,000 children to access free education.
  • Completed $3.27 million worth of upgrades to Kerevat National High School—classrooms, specialist laboratories and water, sewerage and electrical systems.
  • Funded 88 in-country health worker scholarships (68 midwifery; 20 community health workers).

Economic development

Results for 2012

  • Assisted GoPNG to maintain and rehabilitate over 2,000 kms of national priority roads.
  • Improved air freight processing times at Port Moresby Airport from 4 days to 1 day through streamlined cargo inspection processes, implemented with Australian technical assistance.
  • Assisted National Maritime Safety Authority to implement the safety aspects of the Small Crafts Act, to help reduce the number of maritime accidents in PNG coastal waters.


Results for 2012

  • Provided services and support in over 9,000 family and sexual violence cases through police specialists in police Family and Sexual Violence Units.
  • Trained an estimated 4,574 police and other law and justice officials (20% of who are women).
  • Supported the establishment of an additional 91 village courts, dealing with 650,000 cases nationwide.
  • Recovered more than K4.2m in suspected proceeds of crime by assisting the Proceeds of Crime Unit to successfully obtain four asset freezing orders.
  • Increased women village court magistrates with over 900 in 2012, up from 700 in 2011, and 10 in 2004.


Results for 2012

  • Provided 250 blankets/bedding through the Red Cross to victims of the MV Rabaul Queen ferry disaster.
  • Provided emergency relief for the Southern Highlands land slip, flooding in South Fly and the Bougainville dysentery outbreak.

Research overview

Good research can lead to better outcomes for the world’s poorest by improving the evidence base for policies and programs. That’s why the agency is committed to an innovative research portfolio. Research funded by our PNG country program specifically targets priority development challenges.

More information on how we fund research

World Bank Integrated Bio-Behavioural survey (IBBS)

This population based survey of 12,000 people will increase the understanding of HIV transmission patterns by:

  • creating more accurate HIV prevalence estimates
  • revealing demographics and behaviours (risk factors) associated with HIV
  • creating an index of stigma and discrimination at regional levels.

The large size of the proposed sample means robust data can be provided to evaluate different levels of prevalence by gender, age, and regions. Understanding the drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the dynamics of transmission will enable better targeting of the national response.

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research–AusAID partnership for PNG agriculture (2008–2012)

This program supports research and development activities for the efficient and sustainable use of resources for more productive and sustainable agricultural systems. Through applied technical, social, economic and policy research, the program aims to achieve practical impacts for PNG smallholders, consumers, industry and government.

For example, a cocoa pod borer (CPB) management project that concluded in 2011 found that cocoa production in East New Britain fell by more than 60 per cent following the CPB incursion in 2005. This research program has developed a management strategy for farmers to mitigate the effects of CPB with remarkable results. After adopting this strategy, cocoa farmers have obtained yields up to 10 times higher than achieved when applying the previous management strategy.

Institute of Medical Research Support Program

The PNG Institute of Medical Research (IMR) undertakes research programs in six priority research disciplines: mosquito-borne diseases, respiratory diseases, sexual health, disease surveillance, infectious diseases and therapies, and operational research. The IMR’s research makes an important contribution to improved health outcomes in PNG, particularly in the areas of malaria, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, HIV/sexual health and maternal health.

In 2008–09, IMR conducted the first country-wide survey of the number of households that owned a mosquito net treated with insecticide, which was 65 per cent of households in 2008–09 and rose to 85 per cent 2011. The increase in mosquito nets was followed by reductions in reported malaria cases in many parts of PNG.

Findings from recent IMR studies conducted on multi-drug resistant tuberculosis have been adopted by the National Department of Health for treatment standards nationwide.

The IMR Sexual and Reproductive Health program is focused on National AIDS Council priorities/needs. A number of studies have been commissioned to focus on cervical cancer and high-risk human papillamavirus (HPV) which is increasing among women in PNG. The IMR will continue to focus on supporting the NDoH’s National Health Plan priorities to improve health in the country which is their primary goal.

In 2012, IMR is expanding into studies on safe motherhood and maternal health.

PNG Household Income and Expenditure Survey

The latest Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) was managed by the PNG National Statistics Office with support from Australian Aid and the World Bank. The survey covered just over 4,000 households in PNG and covered rural and urban households. It has three main objectives:

  • to assist in calculating household expenditure which will be used in updating the PNG National Accounts
  • to generate household consumption data that will be used to rebase the Consumer Price Index which is currently based on a weighting from a 1975–76 survey
  • to enable the improved analysis of livelihoods and poverty in PNG, including the calculation of a Poverty Line.

heading foldWhy we give aid


PNG is Australia’s closest neighbour. Despite positive economic growth rates in recent years, PNG’s social indicators are among the worst in the Asia Pacific. Approximately 85 per cent of PNG’s mainly rural population is poor and an estimated 18 per cent of people are extremely poor. Many lack access to basic services or transport. Poverty, unemployment and poor governance contribute to serious law and order problems. Improving the lives of poor people and promoting stability are central to Australia’s interests.

Find out more about why we give aid to Papua New Guinea


heading foldHow we give aid

Australia works with national, provincial and local levels of government in PNG to help them deliver essential services such as health and education to the poorest communities in PNG. Whilst some of our assistance is provided directly to the Government, most of our aid is delivered with the assistance of managing contractors. They help us provide technical assistance, infrastructure and other services, including essential funds to the Government. We also deliver some aid directly through non-government organisations (NGOs), and organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Find out more about how we give aid to Papua New Guinea

Read the Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership for Development document

Read the Papua New Guinea Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Demographic and development statistics for PNG


Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014