Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea


29 November 2013

Address by Minister, Development Cooperation, Australian High Commission PNG, Mr Stuart Schaefer at the opening of National Agricultural Research Institute office, laboratory building and guest house
National Agricultural Research Institute, East New Britain Province
29 November 2013


It’s a pleasure to help commission these impressive buildings.

Agriculture research at this site has a long history and a bright future.

The research legacy and these rebuilt facilities measure not only the importance of this place for PNG agriculture.

They also speak about the quality of NARI’s leadership.

The Incentive Fund supports organisations that are high performing because they have strong leadership.

Strong leaders have a clear understanding of where they need to take an organisation to improve it.

You have not just rebuilt facilities here.

In Mr Petilani’s words, you have built for the future.

You have room to grow, and advanced facilities to perform and share research for the benefit of farmers and communities.

We have seen this morning the importance of this site for the development of a galip nut industry.

Research here has already led to the distribution of superior galip seedlings.

This site can claim similar historic successes in the cocoa, oil palm and taro beetle control sectors.

The Incentive Fund is not only about the direct benefits from projects.

The benefits are also in people and organisations getting together to map out and manage their projects.

Strong leaders take responsibility for problems and are involved with solutions.

Building these high quality facilities in under 18 months is a clear sign of your high quality teamwork.

You have been growing relationships with the community.

I understand NARI has allocated land near here to build a House to continue social inclusion work.

Strong leaders respect women because they know it is the right thing to do for their people and for PNG’s development.

They ensure the views and needs of women, disabled people and children are included when planning projects.

Women are a vital part of PNG agriculture as both producers and researchers.

Women perform an estimated 70 per cent of the labour work but their voices are not always heard.

Facilities like these will strengthen women’s roles by supporting individual researchers and providing space for Women in Agriculture.

In these 16 days of activism, it is worth reflecting that improving the status of women is everyone’s responsibility.

We all need to think about how we can make a difference in our own communities and work-places.

Strong, responsible and accountable leadership at all levels of society is critical to achieve lasting development.

It is a reason why NARI has emerged as a vibrant, dynamic and robust institution.

Agriculture is likely to remain the economic mainstay for most Papua New Guineans.

There are good prospects for continued growth, and also constraints to further vitality and prosperity.

The constraints on agriculture are consistent with the constraints to Papua New Guinea’s overall economic growth.

Poor road infrastructure; law and order problems; education and health standards; and poor governance are among them.

These are priority areas for Australia’s aid partnership with PNG.

Our common goal is helping more ordinary Papua New Guineans to benefit from the nation’s increasing prosperity.

The Incentive Fund makes a major contribution by creating an environment for better service delivery.

Well managed organisations, with strong leadership and a commitment to innovation ought to be supported because of their impact on people’s lives and because they show the way for others.

As with all Incentive Fund projects, I look forward to these facilities becoming a landmark for not just good services but also the quality of management and leadership that is critical for Papua New Guinea’s development.

Thank you.