PNG government to Australian public servants: join us or leave

Australian public servants will not be able to work as technical advisers to Papua New Guinea’s government from January 1, unless they’re happy to formally transfer to the island nation’s own bureaucracy.

As PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised in July, his government has passed legislation to block employees of foreign governments working inside the administration. Technical advisers will need to be contracted by PNG and subject to its own performance agreements which demand they work solely in the interests of PNG.

The bill applies to all departments and agencies covered by our northern neighbour’s Public Services (Management) Act, such as the departments of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council, Personnel Management, Treasury, Finance, Health, Transport, Justice and the Attorney-General.

While O’Neill said back in July that the ban would include police, the ABC now reports foreign government advisers to the PNG national police force, correctional services, courts, state-owned entities and universities will still be welcome.

PNG Department of Personnel Management secretary John Kali reportedly said he had no idea how many foreign advisers would be happy to leave the employ of their home countries and sign contracts with the PNG public service.

The O’Neill government is concerned that its own employees have become lazy and dependent on such advisers and consultants, at the risk of them putting their own nation’s interests ahead of PNG’s.

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