Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

160323 Speech Address by Brendan Peace on the opening of Sogeri health facilities

Opening of Australian-funded health facilities at Sogeri

Address by Mr Brendan Peace

Australian High Commission Counsellor (Governance)

Thursday 17 March 2016


People of Sogeri, I thank you for welcoming my colleagues and I to your village this morning.


It gives me great pleasure to be in the company of so many of you.

It could not be more fitting for this gathering to take place here.


This region has historical significance for both Australia and Papua New Guinea.


From here our people fought during World War II for a shared cause.


The story of their struggle is legendary. 


They demonstrated courage, endurance and sacrifice.


They formed a lasting friendship and the Kokoda Track memorialises this.


Our Governments first agreed to protect the Track in 2008 under the Kokoda Initiative.

And in September last year our Prime Ministers signed a declaration on the significance of these events and our lasting friendship.


The Joint Declaration for the Preservation of the Kokoda Track Region is a symbol of our shared history.


It aims to protect the Kokoda Track for future generations.


The Australian Government is delivering on its commitments under the Kokoda Initiative and the Joint Declaration.


We are here this morning to open health facilities worth 710,000 kina funded by the Australian Government

  • A disease control centre and laboratory
  • improvements to your existing health centre
  • and ablution facilities.


The facilities are expected to improve healthcare for about 18,000 people in the Sogeri and the Koiari areas.

A total of over 50 pieces of health, water and sanitation and education infrastructure have been built or renovated for people in the Kokoda Track region in recent years. 

And the Australian Government continues to invest strongly in health right across PNG

We continue to partner with the Government of PNG to:

  • train health professionals;
  • fight diseases and provide vaccines to children; and


  • improve health infrastructure.

We aim to improve access to quality health care for remote and rural communities, including in the Sogeri region.

The Kokoda Initiative also aims to protect the environment and ensure the safety of all people who use the Track.

We support the Kokoda Track Authority to manage the Track and implement safety projects.

We also support the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority for environmental protection work.


We work in partnership with the national and local governments as well as communities and non-government organisations. 

Our partners have been a big part of the achievements we have made.


For that I commend you all on a job well done.

I thank you for your commitment and look forward to strengthening our partnership under the next phase of the Initiative.


Thank you once again.