Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop arrived in Buka on Tuesday after chairing the annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial forum in Port Moresby.
Ms Bishop was accompanied by Australian High Commissioner to PNG Deborah Stokes and other dignitaries from the Australian government.
Read all Julie Bishop/ Bougainville background notes and watch Video interview here
She was met at the Buka airport by the ABG Finance Minister Albert Punghau, Bougainville Regional MP Joe Lera and Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police in Bougainville Chief Superintendent Paul Kamuai at the foot of the plane before being led to the VIP lounge by the Kulubou cultural group dancers.
In welcoming the Australian minister ABG Health Minister Mrs Rose Pihei on behalf of the ABG thanked the Australian government for their long term assistance that has really helped in rebuilding Bougainville through the support in funding and human resource to see us through in our political future.
Ms Bishop said on behalf of the Australian Prime Minister and the government we want to see a peaceful, prosperous and safe Bougainville with a strong autonomous government as Australia and Bougainville are friends and we live in the same neighborhood.
“Since the conflict, Australia has provided continuous enormous support as we were witnesses to the Bougainville Peace Agreement and we want to assure that the BPA is implemented to the fullest extent,” said Ms Bishop.
“We were also supporting the Truce Monitoring Group (TMG) then the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) from the outset and we have been focusing our support in the areas of education by providing new classrooms and teacher’s accommodation and we have already completed 20 schools in the region and in 2015 we will be looking at more schools,” said Ms Bishop.
She said health is another area of focus to roll out infrastructure to other hospitals and health centers so that people have better access to health care and we are also looking at improving the roads as most Bougainvilleans live within 7 kilometers away from the main roads for them to access service.
“We also put support in the Law and Justice issues with New Zealand and today we will be introducing the new pre-recruit education program for young Bougainvilleans have the opportunity to be involved in security for the people,” Ms Bishop said.
The recently concluded Operation Render Safe led by Australia that involved Canada, Sweden New Zealand, United States and Solomon Islands was also the support by Australia to help the people of Bougainville improves their livelihoods and that support will continue to see Bougainville achieve its destiny.
The delegation will be visiting Arawa to attend and launch the GIF funded mobile radio, then visit the Panguna Peace building strategy office, the women’s micro finance office.
And on Wednesday they will visit local women who form a part of road maintenance in Tinputs and then proceed to Buka to conclude Bougainville Womens Federation Forum (BWF), then a brief tour of the ABG parliament and finally the opening of the new police training center barracks at Hutjena before departing for Port Moresby.
More pictures from Arawa Below