AUSTRALIAN Justice Minister Michael Keenan made the trip to Papua New Guinea in February to advance Australia’s support for PNG’s law and justice priorities including transnational crime and policing.

The three-day visit in February included meetings with key ministerial counterparts, Minister for Justice and Attorney General Kerenga Kua and Minister for Police Nixon Duban, as well as several other senior PNG officials.

During the visit, which comes just a fortnight after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s first ministerial visit to PNG, Mr Keenan reinforced Australia’s priorities in supporting PNG’s initiatives that improve law and justice conditions and the broader social environment, to benefit both the people and the economy of PNG.

The Minister visited Australian Federal Police (AFP) missions in Port Moresby and Lae, and Attorney-General’s Department officers deployed as advisors in PNG law and justice agencies under the Strongim Gavman Program.

During his time in PNG, Mr Keenan witnessed some of the achievements of the PNG-Australia Law and Justice Partnership, including with the Royal PNG Constabulary (RPNGC) and the Office of the Public Prosecutor, which are increasing the country’s access to justice.

“Australian Federal Police and Attorney-General’s Department officers stationed in PNG are making an important contribution to the law and justice sector in PNG,” Mr
Keenan said.

“The AFP’s focus on frontline advisory support with RPNGC colleagues in Port Moresby and Lae is strengthening the RPNGC’s ability to deliver visible frontline police services for the people of PNG.”

Thirteen AFP officers are stationed in Lae to support RPNGC operations, and are part of an additional deployment of 50 AFP officers through the PNG-Australia Policing Partnership.

Australia’s assistance for essential services has included supporting the RPNGC to establish a Family and Sexual Violence Unit at the Lae Metropolitan Police Station.

Mr Keenan also viewed the destruction of guns surrendered in Bumayong Village in an initiative led by community elders to reduce the incidence of violence and gun related crime and the use of home-brew kits and drugs.

“The destruction of these guns today is a step forward in the creation of a safer community for the people of Lae,” Mr Keenan said.