Papua New Guineans have a chance to be recruited to join the Australian military, said Prime Minister James Marape.

Returning to Port Moresby from the Kokoda Track, Northern Province, with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, Marape appeared in good spirits as he spoke on the walk he and Albanese completed.

He said the walk was a good opportunity to discuss the recruitment processes planned.

“They indicated to me in February after my address in their Parliament that they would need up to 10,000 personnel in their Defence Force,” he said.

“I was asked: ‘are you willing to supply us personnel in the Defence Force’, and I replied by all means. “You can come and select from my grade 12 graduates.

“They are coming from curriculums you helped us develop so now the line between Australia and PNG are opening.

“My whole idea is to synergise our people and their people, especially the ease of access for Papua New Guineans for education and employment in Australia.”

The walk only expounded what was discussed in a big way, the defence of PNG was the defence of Australia, he reiterated.

“Whether it is in the Defence Force or other industries at least we assist in a big way,” Marape said.

Meanwhile, the PNG Defence Force have been praised for their assistance in the protection of Prime Ministers James Marape and Anthony Albanese.

The work they did was so tremendous even Albanese thanked them for their assistance, Marape said.

He added that the help was “recognised by Albanese who said he knew the level of protection he would get so he didn’t bring too many people to walk with him knowing that the PNGDF would be there every step of the way”.

“Albanese said that if your ancestors took care of our people, they would take care of him, and he didn’t need to come with the extra hands of their military to support him.”

Marape told the acting Commander of the PNGDF Commodore Philip Polewara that “you should be very proud of your men; they cooked our breakfast this morning”.

“Good job Defence, and many reached out in prayer.”

The PNG Defence Force provided air support for the travel to Kokoda and provided security and catering for the travelling PMs.

“This is them recruiting Papua New Guineans to work in the Australian army,” Marape said.