JOSEPH Lera has replaced the late Steven Pirika Kamma as Bougainville affairs minister, while Kundiawa MP Tobias Kulang is the nation’s new tourism, arts and culture minister after the latest Cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Lera, like Mr Kamma, is a member of PNG’s United Resource Party – a major coalition partner with prime minister Peter O’Neill’s People’s National Congress Party.
Mr O’Neill congratulated Mr Lera, adding that Mr Kamma had left a significant legacy in his commitment to the development of Bougainville.
“The Bougainville Affairs Ministry is one of the most sensitive portfolio and the Late Steven Kamma managed his ministerial responsibilities in a most careful way,” the prime minister said.
“He listened to the views of communities and shared opinions, he was a genuine and trusted man and people believed in him.
Mr O’Neill also thanked Mr Kulang, saying he was a significant leader in PNG and had experience as a strong performer in parliament.
Mr Kulang replaces sports minister Justin Tkatchenko in the role, which he took on in January this year.
During this time, Mr Tkatchenko made significant changes including the amalgamation of the National Cultural Commission and the National Museum and Art Gal lery.
Mr O’Neill thanked Mr Tkatchenko for this work, but added that the minor reshuffle was important to maintain administrative flexibility.
Instead, Mr Tkatchenko will take over as the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) minister for PNG leading up to the 2018 APEC Leaders’ Summit.
“APEC needs a very good attention because it is a first time we will have world leaders of standing and we cannot afford to lose that opportunity to show case our country and that is why it is a very important ministry,” Mr O’Neill said.