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Australia - Papua New Guinea Crime Fighting Co-Operation

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7 February 1992


Australian Crime syndicates were warned off operating in Papua New Guinea by Senator Michael Tate, Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs, speaking in Madang at the 4th Papua New Guinea - Australian Ministerial Forum.

"There is increasing evidence of Australian drug syndicates smuggling arms to criminal groups in Papua New Guinea in exchange for cannabis", Senator Tate said.

In a recent incident, co-operation between the Australian Federal Police and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary resulted in the arrest of several Australians on conspiracy to import drugs charges.

"The short distance across Torres Strait is a cause of some concern for both countries not only in terms of crime but also because of its potential for quarantine and health problems", Senator Tate said.

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"I am convinced from comments made by the Foreign Minister, Sir Michael Somare, that there is a strong commitment from the Papua New Guinea side to prevent Australian crimes from stirring up trouble in Papua New Guinea.

"This commitment is strongly shared by the Australian Government and its law enforcement agencies", Senator Tate said.

Senator Tate also announced that final agreement had been reached on a police housing project in Papua New Guinea.

"The contract, for 150 houses at 28 sites will be signed in Canberra in late February", the Minister said.

The housing project is part of thje AIDAB police development package which has been in operation for the past 4 years at a cost of $27 million.

Senator Tate also welcomed the statement by the PNG Police Minister, the Hon Mattias Ijape, that security at mining sites around Papua New Guinea would be greatly strengthened.

"This decision by the PNG Government is an important step in restoring confidence in investors so essential to that country's future", Senator Tate said.

For information contact Daryl Smeaton (06) 2581759

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