THE GOVERNMENTS of Australia and Papua New Guinea have announced a five year plan to promote gender equality in Papua New Guinea.

In a statement issued by Australian minister for foreign affairs Julie Bishop and PNG minister for religion, youth and community development, Delilah Gore said the plan will be delivered through an Australian Pacific women’s development initiative.

The plan will focus on creating leadership and economic opportunities for women and effectively reducing family and sexual violence, the statement said.

Australia and PNG recognise that women who are economically secure can better access education and health services.

The statement said they have expanded opportunities to take on leadership or decision-making roles in their communities and workplaces, boosting economic and political participation.

Family and sexual violence is unacceptable in any form, the statement said, and investing in stopping violence not only improves women’s safety but also improves their health, education, leadership and economic opportunities, and those of the entire community.

Australia and PNG will support a coordinated response involving government, non-government, the private sector and community organisations, the statement said.

Australia and PNG will pilot and evaluate new and innovative approaches to prevent violence in the future.