Australia Invests Millions To Give Electricity To Papua New Guinea
Australia will pour money into a huge joint effort to electrify Papua New Guinea, in one of the largest projects in the Pacific nation's history.
Just 13 per cent of PNG's population has access to reliable electricity, but Australia, the United States, Japan and New Zealand will all chip in to fund a series of power and communications projects.
Australia will contribute up to $25 million in the first year of the multi-year project.
The Papua New Guinea Electrification Project will aim to get 70 per cent of the country connected by 2030.
The mountainous PNG is notoriously difficult for infrastructure projects, with the vast majority of the population living in remote or rural areas.
The capital Port Moresby is also cut off from the rest of the country, and can only be reached by sea or air.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill announced the deal in Port Moresby on Sunday, alongside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US Vice President Mike Pence, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
"Progress towards Papua New Guinea's ambitious objectives will require large scale investment by both the public and private sectors," the nations said in a joint statement.
"This includes investment in new generation capacity as well as transmission and distribution lines to connect households, service providers and businesses to the grid."
The project will also be open to other nations that support "a free, open, prosperous and rules based region."
The project comes as China increases its infrastructure push into PNG, including hospitals and a major road in Port Moresby.
But locals have criticised China for building unnecessary projects that don't help the community - the road China ripped up and replaced was already one of the best in PNG.
The Chinese projects have also been funded with "aid money", but they are built by Chinese workers, using Chinese materials, and the money goes back to Chinese companies.