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Wednesday, 19 July


The Albanese Government can end 10 years of engineered cruelty "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

The Human Rights Law Centre is calling on the Albanese Government to end 10 years of calculated, cruel policies inflicted on people who came to Australia seeking safety.

A decade ago today, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced he would not allow any person seeking asylum by sea to settle in Australia. Thousands of people were subsequently sent to detention camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

In Nauru and Papua New Guinea, the Australian Government oversaw torturous conditions of detention, the separation of families, grossly inadequate medical treatment, sexual abuse, and failures of care for children. The decision resulted in irreparable physical and mental harm and ultimately, the deaths of at least 14 people.

After powerful resistance from refugees, the last remaining people detained under Australia's offshore detention policy were evacuated from Nauru. However, the Albanese Government has confirmed that it will continue to keep the detention centre in Nauru open.

The Albanese Government refuse to evacuate 80 people, who were previously detained on Manus Island from Papua New Guinea, and continues to deny thousands of people their right to safe, permanent resettlement.

The Human Rights Law Centre will join demonstrations across the country to call on the Albanese Government to:

  1. End offshore detention;

  2. Evacuate the 80 people still in Papua New Guinea

  3. Provide permanent safety to all people affected by offshore detention and the flawed Fast Track process.

Sanmati Verma, Managing Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre:

In offshore detention, the Australian government designed a system of calculated cruelty which is now being exported to other parts of the world, to torture and punish people seeking safety.

Every person sent to Nauru or PNG has lost years of their lives and been separated from loved ones because of the intentionally punitive policies of successive Australian governments. The Albanese Government must end offshore detention, evacuate the 80 people stranded in PNG, and give these people who have resisted the Australian Governments brutality, their right to make a safe and permanent home here.

Uncertain visa status has been weaponised to further punish people who have been transferred to Australia, to compel them to accept resettlement in third countries or return home. The Albanese government must recognise peoples right to rebuild their lives in safety and in freedom.

Media Contact:
Thomas Feng
Media and Communications Manager
Human Rights Law Centre
0431 285 275


Final steps towards the reopening of Porgera gold mine now under way "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

After over three years closure, the final formalities required to reopen the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guineas Enga Province are now being processed under the supervision of the Mineral Resources Authority. Business Advantage PNG spoke to the MRAs Managing Director, Jerry Garry, for an update.

Porgera has an estimated gold reserves of 10 million ounces. After an initial ramp up, it is forecast to produce an average of 500,000 ounces per year. Credit: Zijing Mining

The Porgera gold mine in Enga Province has been under care and maintenance since its closure in April 2020 following the stalling of negotiations over a new special mining lease.

With negotiations finally completed following the signing of the Porgera Project Commencement Agreement (PPCA) in March and outstanding tax issues seemingly resolved all that is now required for the mine to be reopen is for a Special Mining Lease (SML) be issued to its newly-constituted operator, New Porgera Limited (NPL).

Statutory requirements

Under PNGs Mining Act, certain statutory requirements have to be met for an SML to be issued. The first of these is a Wardens Hearing, which has been gazetted for 31 July at Engas Paiam Sports Field and 1 August in Tari Square, Hela Province.

The Wardens Hearing is a public forum designed to inform recognised landholders, to gauge their views about the plans for the mine and to register any concerns, explains Jerry Garry, Managing Director of PNGs Mineral Resources Authority (MRA). These concerns are then recorded in the Wardens Report to the PNG Mining Advisory Council, which Garry chairs.

We are look...


Hundreds of businesses register for Papua LNG early works contracts "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Early works contracts for the TotalEnergies-led Papua LNG gas project are expected to start being issued next month. Institute of Banking and Business Managements CEO Susil Nelson-Kongoi shares some advice on how businesses can position themselves for the work with Business Advantage PNG.

The Papua LNG site in Gulf Province. Credit: TotalEnergies

Following procurement roadshows for the TotalEnergies-led Papua LNG project in Port Moresby and Lae earlier this year, 208 companies have so far registered on the Institute of Banking and Business Managements (IBBM) Supplier Management Portal for early works engineering, procurement and contraction (EPC) contracts, according to IBBMs CEO, Susil Nelson-Kongoi.

She tells Business Advantage PNG that registrations are likely to exceed her expected target of 500 before closing in mid-August. Also in August, IBBM and TotalEnergies also aim to run further supplier procurement roadshows in Madang and Kokopo.

Not too late to register

IBBMs Susil Nelson-Kongoi.

The first...


How Indonesia Manages the Risks of Foreign Investment "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

Diversification of investment partners has been the key to the strategy pursued by President Joko Widodo's administration.


Evaluating the Bank of PNGs views on foreign exchange "IndyWatch Feed Pacific"

The monetary policy statement (MPS) published by the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) in March this year places an unprecedented focus on the exchange rate, including a dedicated special feature article on the topic. While the exchange rate has been controlled by BPNG since 2014 when it moved from floating to rationing, the bank has never provided a formal justification of its approach. Nevertheless, the banks recent MPS and the special feature article indicate that concerns about depleting foreign currency reserves and potential inflationary effects of depreciation are significant factors behind BPNGs reluctance to release more forex to the market. In this blog, we explore some of the views put forward by the bank in the context of the IMF program PNG has recently agreed to.

Foundationally, BPNG suggests in the special feature article that the fundamental structural issue that causes low inflows of foreign exchange into PNG is project development agreements negotiated between the government and resource companies. The bank also publicly criticises the governments use of the Temporary Advance Facility, stating that it has resulted in high liquidity that has render[ed] the implementation of monetary policy challenging (MPS, page 15) and will allegedly lead to higher import demand in the foreign exchange market and declines in international reserves.

BPNG also notes in the special feature article that the current level of reserves is still lower than the historical level achieved in 2012, and therefore the Bank is very cautious of running down the reserves to supply more forex to the market. PNG did experience a long and significant decline in reserves after the boom (Figure 1). However, reserves are now at similar levels to 2012; when expressed in months of import coverage, reserves are almost twice as high as they have been historically. The latter phenomenon is due in large part to the import compression effect of rationing in recent years.

Figure 1: Total foreign exchange reserves held by BPNG

Left axis, USD millions; right axis, months of imports

Another risk that BPNG outlines in the MPS around supplying more foreign exchange is that the recently accumulated reserve is pre-committed to meet the future demand for external public debt servicing, following the government taking on more external debt. External debt re...


Clean me a river: Southeast Asia chokes on Mekong plastic pollution "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

The marine biodiversity hotspot known as the Coal Triangle is home to more than 76% of the worlds known coral species and more than 3,000 species of fish. It sustains the livelihoods of more than 100 million people living along the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. Its also home to a lot of plastic. Much of the waste clogging the waters of Coral Triangle countries is the result of poor waste management at the local and national levels. But a recent study published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering shows that plastic also comes from much farther afield. It found that microplastics in the Mekong River in mainland Southeast Asia are spreading to the densely populated coasts of the archipelagic countries of the Philippines and Indonesia. As the region hosts some of the richest fauna and flora on the planet, experts say these findings show that cooperation between Southeast Asian nations is crucial to reduce the harm done to marine life and the communities that depend on aquatic resources. Trajectory of the plastic drift from the Mekong River in 15 months, according to a recent simulation.  The green dots show the initial location of plastic waste, blue dots show plastic still in motion, and red dots show plastic that has been stranded on shore. Image courtesy of Nguyen et al. (2023). Earth, wind and water The Mekong River provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people, but is also oneThis article was originally published on Mongabay

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Tuesday, 18 July


De-dollarization: India, Indonesia to use national currencies in bilateral "IndyWatch Feed World"

India and Indonesia have agreed to use their local currencies in bilateral trade amid a spreading trend of de-dollarization in countries across the globe weary of the negative impact of the greenback's fluctuations. According to a senior Indian government official cited by US financial media on Monday, Delhi and Jakarta plan to settle bilateral transactions in local currencies. The two heavily-populated countries also plan to link up their fast payment systems. The agreements take place as India signed a similar pact with the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, which will see more trade done in the national currencies of the two countries, rupees and dirhams.


PM Marape directs all fisheries catches to be processed in PNG "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

 Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has issued a directive stating that all fisheries catches must be processed in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for export, rather than being sent overseas.

This directive follows the signing of a memorandum-of-understanding (MOU) between RD Fishing Group (RDFG) of the Philippines and the PNG Government on Friday, July 14, 2023.

Covering an extended reef system and extensive coastline, Papua New Guineas Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) spans 2.4 million square kilometres, making it the largest in the South Pacific. The country accounts for approximately 18 percent of the worlds tuna catch and controls around 15 percent of the global tuna trade, with an estimated value between US$4-US$5 billion (K13.3-K16.9 billion).

PM Marape directs all fisheries catches to be processed in PNG

However, the majority of this catch is currently processed overseas, depriving the country of significant benefits from its maritime resources.

I will soon issue notice to all fishing companies operating within our waters that, under our Domestication Policy, all catches must be brought back inshore and processed in the country, stated Prime Minister Marape.

He further emphasised, There will be no unmarked ships in our waters, no high-seas fish transfers to overseas motherships, and all fishing vessels in our territorial waters will be equipped with cameras to monitor their catches. Processing of our fish in-country must be implemented within the next four years.

Prime Minister Marape speaking to media after signing of the MOU.-PMS OFFICE MEDIA

The MOU was signed by RDFG Chairman Ronnel Rivera, National Fisheries Authority (NFA) Managing Director Justin Ilakini, Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCH) Managing Director Dr. David Kavanamur, and International Trade and Investment Secretary Jacinta Warakai-Manua. Ministers for International Trade and Investment, Hon. Richard Maru; State Enterprises, Hon. William Duma; and...


PM Marape announces French President Emmanuel Macrons visit to PNG "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

 PORT MORESBY, JULY 17, 2023 Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. James Marape, announced today that the President of France, H.E. Emmanuel Macron, will undertake a one-day visit to Papua New Guinea on Friday, July 28, 2023.

Prime Minister Marape extended the invitation to President Macron during a meeting held in Port Moresby on June 5, 2023, with Mr. Walid Fouque, Special Advisor for Asia and the Pacific to President Macron.

Prime Minister Marape with President Macron in Gabon, Central Africa, in March this year.-PM Media Photo

President Macron and Prime Minister Marape have previously met on the sidelines of the One Forest Summit in Gabon, Central Africa, in March of this year, as well as during APEC 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand, where President Macron attended as an invited guest.

President Macron is scheduled to arrive in Port Moresby at 11am on Friday, July 28, 2023, and depart at 5pm on the same day. The itinerary for the visit includes a courtesy call on Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae, a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Marape, followed by a bilateral meeting and the signing of various agreements.

Prime Minister Marape emphasised the significance of President Macrons visit in strengthening bilateral relations between France and Papua New Guinea.

Under my leadership, France and PNG have been actively enhancing our bilateral relationship, along with other nations, said Prime Minister Marape.

I appreciate President Macrons commitment, as demonstrated by his decision to visit PNG and engage in discussions on matters of mutual interest between our countries.

President Macrons visit comes on the eve of the final investment decision (FID) by French super-major TotalEnergies on the Papua LNG Project, demonstrating Frances increased investment in Papua New Guinea. TotalEnergies is also involved in downstream processing of natural resources such as forests...


Australias government is wrong to attack the Solomon Islands "IndyWatch Feed Niugini"

Contributed by Jim Hayes

The attack on the Solomon Islands for singing a cooperation agreement with China is wrong. Worse, it is an uncalled for intervention in the internal affairs of another nations. Its the deliberate bullying by a local big power of a small neighbour.

Nations that value democracy will hold that a nation belongs to its people and that the course the nation takes is up to them, not for someone from outside wanting to impose their will.

Comments from leading Australian politicians indicate they have a somewhat different view of the world. In his case, it involves trying to block any deal our neighbours might make with China. The reason? The Australian government is locked into the geopolitical ambition of the United States to maintain its dominance in the region.

Australias history in this part of the world has often not been a good one and given to a propensity to play a kind of colonialist role, denying the right of local peoples to be masters of their own destiny. In other words, Australia stood against democracy. We need only consider the roles played in Papua new Guinea, Timor-Leste, and the current backing of the Indonesian occupation of West Papua.

When the Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare insists that Australia is meddling in his nations internal affairs, he makes an exceptionally good point.

Photo from the Australian: Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare

The current controversy concerns the deal with China, which seems to have been prompted by Australian moves to renege on its own prior agreement. We dont know the details of this because the matter has been going on behind closed doors. What we do know is that the Solomon Islands are unhappy with the way they see they have been treated. The bottom line is that the Australian government insists that the Solon Islands should be denied this right. This isnt said openly, of course....


Pacific seasonal workers: not the new blackbirds "IndyWatch Feed Pacific"

Kirstie Petrou and John Connells new book Pacific Islands Guestworkers in Australia: The New Blackbirds? is an important publication. It is the first book on the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) now part of the broader Pacific Australia Labour Mobility or PALM scheme which, since 2007, has allowed Pacific Islanders to work on Australian farms. It is an interesting read, but a flawed account.

In the first five chapters the book moves through the history of migration from the Pacific to Australia. Chapters 6 to 9 are on seasonal workers experiences, often negative, in Australia and on returning home. Chapter 10 is on COVID-19, chapter 11 on the comparison with blackbirding, and chapter 12 concludes.

From chapter 5 onwards, the book has a strong focus on Vanuatu with some reference to other Pacific countries. Timor-Leste receives very little attention, despite its third-place ranking in the number of seasonal workers sent.

Overall, the authors have a positive view of the SWP. They say that it appears to be a triple win (p. 416) good for employers, workers, and their countries. They write that on balance, the SWP benefits most people most of the time (p. 413).

Nevertheless, despite this summary positive verdict, the book has quite a negative tone. This is for five reasons.

First, the authors style is ambivalent, and they distance themselves from their own positive verdict. The concluding paragraph of the book summarises the SWP not in the positive terms quoted above but as asymmetrical, ephemeral and occasionally exploitative (p. 449).

Second, the authors frame the SWP as a cheap source of labour for agricultural employers (p. 104). In fact, SWP workers are paid on casual rates which are 25% above the minimum wage. The range of other costs and obligations incurred by approved employers, such as providing welfare support for the workers, makes an SWP worker an expensive employment option. Research in 2018 showed that non-wage costs per hour were higher for seasonal workers than for backpackers. Many growers still prefer lower cost backpackers, international students, undocumented workers and absconding SWP workers.

Third, the focus in the chapters on SWP workers in Australia is on the problems they have faced. The analysis is too reliant on anecdotes. The reader is presented with a series of snapshots at different times and places, at different stages of evolution of the SWP, and indeed from other seasonal wor...

Monday, 17 July



170723 People residing in the Wakunai district have also been urged to move
New Dawn FM News

People residing in villages in the Wakunai district, whom are experiencing heavy ash downpour into their water systems such as, Togarau, Kakarapaia, Karauturi, Atau, Ruruvu and Sisivi, have been urged to vacate their villages and proceed to the Disaster centre at the Wakunai district centre in the next twenty-four hours.
This is a stage 3 alert and we will further inform you and listen and adhere to information from the Bougainville Disaster Management Team leader Mathew Kusa, she said.
Ms Esther Usurup the ABG Deputy Chief Secretary Operations appealed to anyone residing next to the Mt Bagana volcano to leave the area immediately.
It is also important that the people in the affected areas listen carefully to the District Disaster Team leader only and radio announcements made from the office of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Chief Secretary, she added.
Ms Usurup further added that the people do not listen to hearsay from others.
All Regional Disaster Coordination Team are being set-up at the office of the ABG Chief Secretary.
She says all necessary documents have been send to relevant organizations and departments who can assist the government concerning this natural disaster.
The disaster response has created the Disaster Management Team, Coordinator Torokina Boniface Wadari, Police officer incharge Deputy Team leader Clement Vivino, Health Extension officer Peter Chanel Boboho, Community Development officer Amos Baiwa, Acting District Education officer Mekior Sabele, Village District Court officer Justine Wane, Community government officer Joe Savione. District Disaster Team 2 in Wakunai district; District Disaster Team Coordinator Mathew Kusa, Acting District Education Deputy Team leader Martin Evoata, District Health Manager Jaqueline Mirinka, Police officer in-charge Banabas Gote, District Health officer Caroline Fred, Commerce officer William Torres, Deputy chairman Terra Community Government Pedro Uravutu and Deputy chairman Rau Community Government Joseph Akito.
ABG government has now received support from the National Disaster Centre and in partnership with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) to conduct aerial assessment into the situation. All the relief effort will be coordinated through the ABG Disaster and Response office.
Everyone including children, women and men, must remain calm durng these times.
The situation is being closely monitored and the public will be informed in the next seven days; everyday for any further changes and developments of Mt Bagana. Bougainvilleans are urged to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters who are currently affected during this time, she stated.
The contact points Torokina Disaster Coordinator Team Leader Boniface Wadari 735 47081, Wakunai District Disaster Contact Coordinator Team Leader Mathew Kusa 7203 9544....


Indonesias coal burning reaches record high amid rise of industrial smelting "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

Indonesia burned 33 per cent more coal in 2022 than the year before, contributing to a 20 per cent increase in the countrys carbon emissions from fossil fuels, an analysis of official data shows.

Sea sand dredging resumption alarms Indonesian activists "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

Marine conservation and fisheries activists in Indonesia are pushing for exports of sea sand to be scrapped, saying the activity harms the environment and community livelihoods.


JETP in Indonesia: funding solution or energy transition debt trap? "IndyWatch Feed Economics"

Even as the availability of concessional lending to Indonesia is appreciated, the country needs to keep an eye on its debt burden and try to renegotiate the terms of funding under the Just Energy Transition Partnership scheme.


What ails PNGs coffee production? Elections and more "IndyWatch Feed Pacific"

PNGs general elections, conducted at 5-year intervals, tend to coincide with a decline in exports of coffee, an important cash crop. For example, PNG exported 20,000 tonnes of coffee last year, 5,000 tonnes less than the previous year. To put this decline into perspective, a reduction of 5,000 tonnes in coffee exports is equivalent to rendering nearly 43,750 acres of coffee farmlands unproductive in a single year.

Historical data on coffee production isnt available, but coffee export volumes may be used to assess coffee production over time. During seven of PNGs last ten election years, coffee exports fell (Figure 1). Simple linear regression results show a negative relationship between growth in coffee exports and election years since independence, with significance at the 12% level. And as Figure 1 shows, election years arent the only ones in which coffee growth is negative.

There are two reasons why coffee production is likely to be negatively affected by elections. First, the months leading up to the vote are festive, drawing people away from their daily activities of subsistence and cash cropping to participate in campaigns, dances and feasts. The absence of smallholder farmers, who contribute over 85% of coffee production, directly impacts coffee growing. A second reason is that election-related conflict, which is common, hinders farmers from returning to their coffee farms. This is particularly true of the Highlands, the region where more than 90% of PNGs coffee is grown, and where elections are most violent. The Highlands elections last year were particularly bad, disrupting the livelihoods of an estimated 265,000 people, according to the UN.

Elections are only one of a number of problems that the coffee industry is facing. In 2022 coffee exports reached an all-time low (Figure 2). On average, PNG exported 55,000 tonnes of coffee annually between 1977 and 2022. The highest export volume recorded was 85,000 tonnes in 1989. However, coffee exports have fallen since, and the 20,000 tonnes exported last year....

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