Australia and Papua New Guinea are mates and it’s time Australia treats Papua New Guinea the same way we treat them, says Morobe Governor Luther Wenge.
He said that Australia needed labour that Papua New Guinea could supply.
Wenge was reacting to statement by Sun Engineering Pty Ltd chief executive officer Mark McMonagle on the processes of visa that were impacting on supply of labour from PNG to Australia.
“We have been mates for too long, we are humans, we need each other.
“We welcome Australians into our country, we give them visa on arrival, we give them work, but they don’t do the same for us,” Wenge said.
Wenge said that for a while now, it had been a normal practice for all prime ministers to visit Canberra after being voted into office.
“But for what? We want to see fairness, we want to be treated like human beings.
“Australia must open their doors to Papua New Guinea too,” he said.
Wenge called on the Australia High Commission to take what McMonagle said on board.
Wenge said that the country’s Kina value was also dropping, unemployment was increasing and we can address that by supplying the labour market in Australia.
McMonagle told the 11th National Parliament members’ induction last Thursday that he saw potential for workers in PNG to be brought to Australia. “It’s not that they don’t allow Papua New Guineans, it’s our visa system in Australia where it is too complex and difficult,” McMonagle told The National.
“It’s mainly about the visa and coming up with a faster and effective visa process to mitigate the risk by making the employer, the Australian employer, responsible for the person.
“That means they have to make sure that they house, provide health (insurance) and make sure that they (workers) return to PNG when they are not needed there anymore.
“What you don’t want happen is that all these skilled workers in PNG, that might be operating in the mines, leave Papua New Guinea and go and work in Australia, but then we might not have those workers here in PNG, and the mines have to import the labour in.
“So it needs to be balanced and I think the industry needs to take ownership and manage that transition.
“We bring specific people in so we are not robbing Papua New Guinean skilled workers where they might need them,” he said.