Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

150113 Speech HOM Manus market opening

Official Opening Ceremony of the Manus Provincial Market
Speech by Australia’s High Commissioner
Ms Deborah Stokes
13 January 2015

Governor for Manus – The Hon Charlie Benjamin
Provincial Administrator – Mr Andrew Posong
Town Mayor – Mrs Ruth Mandrakamu
Heads of national service delivery agencies in Manus province
Landowner representatives
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Afternoon.

It gives me great pleasure to be here today to join with Governor Benjamin in officially opening the new Manus Provincial Market.
I wish to thank the dancers and the musicians for their wonderful performances.

Australia and Manus have a long history together. A major feature of this history was the Second World War as well as the strong defence cooperation centred around the naval base at Lombrum. And more recently our relationship has included the Regional Processing Centre.

I have visited Manus more than any other province in PNG. And I am one of Manus Province’s greatest advocates.I regularly describe to people in Waigani the great beauty of Manus. And it is hard not to notice the great human talent that Manus has generated over the years, resulting in many senior public servants and business people coming from Manus.

So there is something special in Manus about how the children are brought up and educated. This special quality is worth nurturing for the future.

We are proud to have provided around K7.2 million for the construction of the new market, which can accommodate 740 vendors, an increase of 260 spaces (previously 480).

The new market has a new structure, a thoroughfare area, three wings including fish and meat wing, eight boutique shops, new female toilet block, renovated toilets, a realigned market fence, newly installed security lighting, and landscaping.

We understand how important it is that women are able to earn an income. We know that women vendors are the backbone of PNG markets. Australia is very pleased to support a project like this that will bring benefits to women.

I would like to thank Governor Benjamin for his cooperation, and the partnership of the Manus Provincial Administration and its Provincial Technical Services Division who worked closely with the Australian-supported Incentive Fund team to successfully implement this project.
I also acknowledge the contribution of all the PNG contractors who contributed to the successful completion of this project. A total of 34 students from the Manus Vocational Technical School were engaged by the building contractor as part of their competency assessment.

The market redevelopment is part of Australia’s additional assistance package to Manus Province associated with the Regional Processing Centre, amounting to over AUD $37 million (K51 million). This is $11 million more than originally committed by Australia.

Australia’s assistance to Manus includes three road and bridge rehabilitation projects. Work is expected to commence this month on the Momote to Lorengau Road; the Lorengau Market Square road and drainage; and the Loniu Bridge and Nuwok Bridges.

We are working in partnership with the PNG Department of Works and the Manus Provincial Adminstration towards the successful completion of these projects by December 2015. The roads and bridges project was launched on 16 December with the unveiling of the sign at the Market square by Governor Benjamin together with Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

The Australian Government will also work with RPNGC to rebuild the Lorengau Police Station. The design of the police station is now underway and work on the construction is expected to start in August 2015.

Australia will provide assistance for staff housing for the Lorengau hospital, including rehabilitation of some existing housing, so that medical staff employed by the hospital will have somewhere to live. The design phase for the new housing is scheduled to commence in late January.
Australia is providing infrastructure school kits for 20 schools selected by the Manus Provincial Division of Education, in consultation with the National Department of Education. We are also working with the Community Development Division of the Manus Provincial Administration to carry out a range of community development activities. These include support for youth, sports and business training.

To the people of Manus, you have a new market that is one of the best I have seen in Papua New Guinea. I hope it will serve you well in the years ahead. I am very happy to be here with you for this opening ceremony.

Thank you.