Posts Tagged ‘Overseas aid’

Australian conservatives concerned at APEC waste and lack of action on corruption

February 20, 2017 3 comments
PNG's sidelined Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop at Parliament House in Canberra.

PNG’s sidelined Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop at Parliament House in Canberra.

Piers Akerman: PNG waste stretches neighbourly concern

PIERS AKERMAN, The Sunday Telegraph

GLOBE-trotting fashionista Foreign Minister Julie Bishop needs to explain why Australian taxpayers are bankrolling Papua New Guinea’s vanity projects when that nation is economically febrile — if it has not already fallen into the pit — and our own economy is ­wallowing.

Numerous companies doing business with the PNG government have not been paid monies owed, the government itself has not met bills for its own instrumentalities, and we are picking up the cheque.

Last week both the PNG Parliament House and the Governor-General’s residency had their electricity cut off ­because of more than $320,000 in unpaid bills.

A former prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, who ­retired five years ago, said he may re-enter politics at the election due in July-August to fight what he says is “the growing web of corruption, abuse, and poverty the country is trapped in” and deal with growing levels of public debt — more than 33.5 per cent of GDP, on conservative IMF figures.

He detailed a growing list of other concerns, including the mortgaging of future income to debt repayment, depriving basic services such as health and education of proper funding, the recession in the non-mining sector, with people losing jobs daily and businesses cutting expenditure to the bone, and poor job prospects for school leavers.

He said the government is not paying businesses for services provided, which in turn leaves companies struggling to pay their own bills and staff, the value of the kina is declining and prices rising and that there is nothing to show from LNG, oil, gas, gold and copper wealth, apart from glamour projects in Port Moresby.

“Where is all the money, people wonder,” he said.

Sir Mekere said there had been severe budget cuts to health and education, that teachers, doctors, health workers and policemen were not being paid properly or on time and that universities — UPNG, Unitech, Goroka and Vudal — were being starved of resources, yet the government is building a new one in Ialibu, where only the principal building contractors will benefit.

He said there had been a breakdown of the machinery and system of government, and a weakening, destruction and politicisation of institutions of state.

He accused Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s government of dictatorship-type rule which threatened democratic principles and practice, with the PNG parliament being used as a rubber stamp and said there was a lack of respect for the rule of law with heavy interference in law and justice agencies, threats to media personnel and suppression of media freedom and a crushing of dissent and violent treatment of student protesters.

“People see no sign of the root problems being addressed. People are afraid that the situation will get worse if the roots are allowed to rot further.

“People are telling me that they want a new government after the election, with a new leader,” he said.

“I chose to retire from politics five years ago. I am enjoying my retirement.

“I am enjoying spending time with family and friends, boating, fishing, reading, travelling, maintaining a continuing oversight of PNGSDP (Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program) and contributing to society in other ways.

“But I feel the concern of people. I hear what they are saying. I share their fears.

“More and more I find it difficult to ignore the growing chorus everywhere I go — in markets, shops, offices, restaurants, from academics, business leaders, public servants, professionals, market sellers, policemen, former MPs, current MPs, intending candidates, men and women I pass in the street,” he said.

Australians should care, too, because despite PNG’s frequent claims of economic and political independence it is always begging for more Australian aid.

Most recently, Australia pledged an extra $100 million to underwrite a continuing Australian Federal Police presence in PNG during next year’s Port Moresby-based APEC conference.

Last week New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully, the man who gave NZ’s backing to last year’s anti-Israeli resolution at the UN in December, pledged his country’s support to PNG for next year’s APEC summit.

Both Australia and New Zealand would claim that they are providing support to PNG to head off the massive ­inroads China is making into the economy of our nearest neighbour but neither government seems interested in ­addressing the problem of corruption.

Earlier this month two senior ministers were suspended after they were accused of ­benefiting from the purchase of land by a government ­corporation. The land, 10km from the sea, was bought for a naval base.

Both the Minister for State Enterprise William Duma and the Defence Minister Fabian Pok are being investigated by the police and the Ombudsman Commission.

Duma is the minister responsible for the government corporation which purchased the land but is alleged to also own or have a proxy interest in a parcel of land owned by the corporation.

Pok is accused of appointing his brother-in-law as the Secretary of Defence and of being inappropriately involved in directing the department to purchase the land. Both men deny the allegations.

Corruption claims in PNG are nothing new but Australian and New Zealand companies are complaining that their bills aren’t being paid while their respective governments are handing even more money to PNG.

As the number of PNG ministers investing in homes in Australia continues to grow, an investigation by Australia into the manner in which grant money is being spent is long overdue.


Australia’s boomerang aid will not assist governance in PNG

February 12, 2015 6 comments

Australia its pouring millions of dollars into its own Universities to teach PNG public servants not to steal while ignoring the real corruption that deprives ordinary people in PNG of access to basic services.

PNG politicians and bureaucrats already know the difference between right and wrong and don’t need patronizing Australian university courses to explain it to them.

What Australia should be doing is stopping the syphoning of billions of dollars in stolen PNG taxpayers money through Australian banks and into real estate schemes in Brisbane and Cairns, posh Australian public schools, its glitzy casinos and expensive private hospitals.

But Australia has no interest in stopping the huge economic boost it receives from corruption in PNG so instead it will just keep pretending to support ‘good governance’ through its pathetic boomerang aid schemes…

Australian scheme to boost governance in Papua New Guinea

Rowan Callick | The Australian

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had no interest in asking PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill about the SABL land grab and illegal logging when the pair met in Jakarta. Source: Supplied

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had no interest in asking PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill about the SABL land grab and illegal logging when the pair met in Jakarta. Source: Supplied

THE first stage has been completed of an Australian program to improve governance in Papua New Guinea.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop signed a memorandum two months ago to establish a Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct in Port Moresby’s public service and university hub of Waigani valley. The program also aims to help build partnerships between Australian and PNG institutions.

As an initial step, 27 senior PNG public servants partici­pated in an executive course run by the universities of Queensland and PNG. The Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, the Australian Public Service Commission, Canberra Institute of Technology Solutions and the Australian National University are also involved, planning leadership courses and developing university, certificate and diploma-level qualifications.

The new precinct in Waigani will include a School of Business and Public Policy at the University of PNG and the adjacent Institute of Public Administration.

Ms Bishop said yesterday: “As a friend and partner of PNG, Australia recognises that an ­effective and ethical public sector is vital for PNG’s stability and prosperity.”

The launch of the program coincides with an intensification of government control of key institutions in PNG, as the country enters the second half of its five-year parliament, when the ruling coalition becomes theoretically vulnerable to votes of no-­confidence.

But the government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has kept consolidating its power rather than seeing it erode, as has tended to happen with previous PNG administrations.

Some home truths about education reform in PNG: Another AusAID conjob!

November 1, 2011 2 comments

By Aaron Hayes

QUESTION: Was Outcomes-based Education introduced by our own curriculum experts?


OBE was a concept brought to PNG by the Australian consultants working for the AusAID-funded Curriculum Reform Implementation Project (CRIP).

To my knowledge none of these consultants had ever taught in a PNG school before. Most of them had never even been to PNG before.

Many of them were from Queensland where OBE was introduced in the 1990s and they brought this curriculum model with them.

On the other hand most of our PNG curriculum officers had not even heard of OBE before, so they did not feel confident to question it or challenge it at the planning meetings in the late 1990s.

They just nodded their heads and went along with it because they did not want to look stupid by opening their mouths, as we say here in PNG, and they assumed that the CRIP consultants were experts who knew what they were doing.

It is important to understand that in the late 1990s most PNG curriculum officers were only senior teachers seconded to the Curriculum Unit.

In those days the main qualification you needed to work in the Curriculum Unit was having your own accommodation in Port Moresby because there was an acute shortage of housing for Standards Wing officers.

Most primary curriculum officers only held a teachers college diploma and did not have specialist qualifications in curriculum development.

When the Australian consultants came in with their PhDs and masters degrees and earning their K200,000 salary packages the local curriculum officers were quite overwhelmed and did not feel confident to question or challenge them.

CRIP consultants took advantage of this situation to push the project through quickly and soon started producing policy documents like the

National Curriculum Statement and Assessment Policy which they claimed were written “by Papua New Guineans for Papua New Guineans”.

But it didn’t ring true.

From what I saw, the new OBE curriculum documents seemed to be largely drafted by the Australian consultants with token input from subject advisory committees, then rubber stamped by Curriculum Unit and printed with everybody’s names inside to make it look like they were written by the Papua New Guineans.

But they weren’t. I know because I was there.

If you think this sounds outrageous – I agree!

QUESTION: Were research studies and pilot programs carried out to prove that OBE would work in PNG before AusAID spent millions of kina to set it up?


There were no research studies done to prove what was wrong with the old objectives-based curriculum model and prove that OBE would be more effective.

There was no literature review or comparative survey of different curriculum models used in other countries to search for the best new approach for PNG.

There was no piloting or trialling of different curriculum models in different provinces to see what would actually work best in PNG.

The consultants just arrived with OBE and railroaded it through, then tried to make it look like it was our idea.  I know because I was there.

If you think this all sounds quite unprofessional – you’re right!

QUESTION: Is current education secretary Dr Joseph Pagelio responsible for allowing OBE into PNG schools?


Dr Pagelio was on study leave doing his PhD overseas at the time the reforms were introduced.

He has inherited this situation through no fault of his own and is trying his best to make things work.

The curriculum reform was introduced under the previous education Secretary, Peter Baki, who once told me in a private meeting that he was “no expert” in curriculum matters and that he relied on his curriculum officers to advise him what was best.

If you think this sounds like a case of “the blind leading the blind” – again you might be right!

QUESTION: Was the Department of Education warned that OBE was unsustainable in PNG?


In 2000 the Department received strong advice from two of its own expatriate contract officers that OBE was unsuitable for introduction into PNG schools.

These officers were the principal guidance officer (myself) and Dr Ann Ryan the senior curriculum officer (science) who is now a lecturer in education at Monash University.

Both of us wrote minutes to the Department advising that OBE was unsustainable for PNG and we even attended a meeting with the Secretary on the matter but our technical advice was later ignored.

If you think this sounds unbelievable that the Department did not listen to its own experts – you would definitely be right!

QUESTION: Is it too late to reverse OBE now that so much money has been spent on the new curriculum?

THE HOME TRUTH: No, OBE is just a way of implementing the curriculum. 

We can easily revert to other ways of teaching the new curriculum without changing the content of the curriculum.

The books and resources that have been distributed by CRIP and other projects can still be used as resources for a teacher-centred learning approach.

The in-service training on student-centred learning will not go to waste, as teachers can still apply the concepts to student group work, research assignments and so on, but under firmer teacher control.

All we need to do is allow classrooms to revert to teacher-centred learning that will give all students everywhere in PNG the opportunity to gain a basic quality education.

The Curriculum Unit can design a new set of standard lesson plans for each subject that even untrained or inexperienced teachers can follow and deliver to their classes, using the textbooks and other resources that have been provided to schools so far, thus ensuring that all students will receive the same basic quality of lessons regardless of which teacher they have.

Providing teachers with a standard set of lesson plans to base their classes on will also cut down on the amount of work that teachers have to do every night “re-inventing the wheel”.

Schools with more qualified teachers and additional resources can build on this foundation providing extension activities and other enhancements.

The main thing is to ensure that the type of education we ask our schools to provide for our students is realistic, achievable and sustainable in the long term.