Enduring ties: half of PNG’s visitors are still Australian

This is the third of a series of posts analysing arrival and departure data in Papua New Guinea. The first post showed how arrivals to PNG had boomed over the last decade, and the second post linked the growing number of visitors to PNG for employment and business to the country’s economic boom. In this post, I will explore the country of residence of visitors arriving in PNG.

Figure 1 shows visitor arrivals by continent and Table 1 shows the number and proportion of visitors by continent for 1999, 2006 and 2013. Australia has remained the major source of visitors, contributing almost half between 1999 and 2013. In 1999, 33,152 visitor arrivals from Australia were counted (49% of the total number of visitor arrivals), rising to 80,537 in 2013 (48%).

Figure 1: Visitor arrivals by continent

Figure 1 - Visitor arrival numbers by continentNote: Underlying data for all charts available here

 Table 1: Visitors by continent, 1999, 2006, 2013; total number (and percentage)

Table 1Figure 1 and Table 1 show that the number of visitor arrivals increased from every continent between 1999 and 2013. While the proportion of visitors from Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, and Africa remained largely unchanged over the 15 year period, the proportion of visitors from Asia rose sharply, largely at the expense of visitors from Europe and the Americas.

Visitor arrivals from Asian countries experienced the largest increase, in absolute numbers and as a proportion of total visitor arrivals. In 1999, 12,758 visitors were from Asia (18.8%), increasing to 53,194 (31.6%) in 2013.

Since the rise of visitor arrivals from Asia is remarkable, I look at these figures at the country level. Figures 2 and 3 show the number of visitor arrivals from several Asian countries, as well as the proportion of total arrivals from these countries out of total Asian arrivals, for 1999 and 2013 respectively.

Figure 2: Visitor arrivals from Asian countries, 1999
(Number per country and % of all Asian visitor arrivals)

Figure 2

Figure 3: Visitor arrivals from Asian countries, 2013
(number per country and % of all Asian visitor arrivals)

Figure 3The Philippines was the major Asian source country of visitor arrivals in both 1999 and 2013, and the number of visitor arrivals from the Philippines has increased rapidly. In 1999, PNG recorded 3,535 visitor arrivals from the Philippines, equivalent to 27.7% of all Asian visitors (or 5.2% of all visitors). This number rose to 22,153 visitors in 2013, equivalent to 41.6% of all Asian visitors (or 13.2% of all visitors). This is a more than six-fold increase over a 15 year period. Since 2007 the Philippines has been the second most important country of residence of visitors after Australia, replacing the US and Japan, which held the second and third ranks in 2006. The number of visitor arrivals from China and Hong Kong grew even more rapidly between 1999 and 2013, recording a more than seven-fold increase, albeit from a much lower base.

Overall, this analysis shows the enduring links between PNG and Australia, with the latter still accounting for almost half of all visitor arrivals to the former. Yet change is clearly afoot. Asia is becoming a more important source region for visitors to PNG, at the expense not of Australia, but of other regions. Asia is the fastest growing source region and, within Asia, the Philippines is the fastest growing source country (of all countries). I will explore the drivers of this mix of stability and change in my next post.


  1. Data refer to the country of residence rather than the country of nationality of visitors, which is also available. In general, the numbers for both categories are similar. The reason for country of residence being used in this analysis is that people usually have only one country of residence, but can have more than one nationality, possibly leading to inconsistencies when using the nationality category.
  2. Data on the country of residence of visitor arrivals are available only from 1999 onwards and not from 1996, as some other data.
  3. PNG was included as a country of residence in 2004 and 2005 but it is unclear even to the NSO how these numbers came about and subsequently went back to zero. It is also unclear why 4,929 visitors did not state their country of residence in 1999, while the number of visitors not stating their country of residence subsequently was zero or minute.
  4. As the major source country, Australia is listed separately from New Zealand and Oceania.

Carmen Voigt-Graf is a Fellow at the Development Policy Centre based at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby.

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The State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) program is currently accepting applications for a number of positions at the State, Society & Governance in Melanesia Program at the Australian National University.

See this link for details.

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Position at Massey University

The School of People, Environment and Planning is seeking to appoint a lecturer/senior lecturer in Social Anthropology to be located on the Albany Campus in Auckland. Social Anthropology is a key social science programme within the School of People, Environment and Planning which has a presence on both the Manawatu and Albany campuses.

The appointee will possess a relevant doctorate and will have relevant research and teaching expertise in Social Anthropology. There is a strong preference for expertise in medical anthropology and the Pacific and/or other emerging areas of anthropological research such as visual/multi-sensory methodologies, ecological or climate studies, post-human/multi-species anthropology.

The appointee will develop and teach (both internally and extramurally) undergraduate and postgraduate students, and provide supervision at Masterate and PhD level. Most teaching will be conducted on the Albany campus, however the School uses video-linked teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level and there will be an expectation that the successful candidate will contribute as appropriate to teaching at a distance using a variety of technologies.

The successful applicant will contribute to the development of the Social Anthropology programme’s undergraduate and postgraduate offerings, to its research and publication profile, and to collegial relations within the programme and the School more broadly. They will also contribute to the strategic development of the College at the Albany campus.

Level of position and salary are commensurate with experience.

Details about the position and information about applying are available here:


Enquiries of an academic nature should be directed to Professor Kathryn Rountree, email (k.e.rountree@massey.ac.nz).

Other enquiries may be made to the Head of the School of People, Environment and Planning, Dr Allanah Ryan (a.m.ryan@massey.ac.nz)

Information regarding the Social Anthropology Programme can be accessed at: http://anthropology.massey.ac.nz

“Massey University’s Strategic Plan: Shaping the Nation: Taking the Best to the World – The Road to 2025”, can be accessed at: https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/About%20Massey/University-Management/documents/156512%20Road%202025%20WEB.pdf?E16946928C096DBABD84BC20911E8BEC

“Growing Pearls of Wisdom: Pasifika@Massey Strategy 2020”, can be accessed at: https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/About%20Massey/Documents/pearls-of-wisdom-pasifika@massey-2013[1].pdf?17BE5D410420A3A75EB637B01EC6E39B

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Launch of book of the late Aubrey Parke, August 29

Launch of book of the late
Aubrey Parke
Degei’s Descendants: spirits, place and people in Pre-Cession Fiji”
Terra Australis 41, ANU Press

Date:  Friday 29 August 2014
Time:  5.00pm – 7.00pm
Place: Hedley Bull Atrium, Hedley Bull Building, Garran Rd, Australian National University (See map below)

Light refreshments will be served.

The launch will be preceded by a Centre for Archaeological Research (CAR) seminar presented by Prof. Matthew Spriggs, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, about Aubrey Parke’s work and the book to be launched.

Seminar title: Aubrey Parke: NOT an ‘enthusiastic amateur’ in Fiji
Date:  Friday 29 August 2014
Time: 3.30pm – 4.45pm
Place: Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Building, Garran Rd, Australian National University

The event is sponsored by the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences and the Parke Family

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Two-thirds of PNG businesses employ security guards: World Bank

A new World Bank series of policy briefs (summarised here) sheds light on the high costs of law and order problems for businesses operating in Papua New Guinea.

One of the authors, Alys Willman, told Radio Australia that it was impossible to know how much investment may have been lost because of the problem and that many businesses see high security costs as a type of ‘tax’ on their operations.

The research, which includes a survey of 135 businesses, shows that 81% of businesses report that their decisions for further investment or expansion were being adversely affected by the law and order situation in the country, while more than two-thirds of businesses employed private security staff, four times the regional average. Nearly a third of businesses reported spending 10 per cent or more of their operating expenses on security.

The study finds that the average business loses K90,000 in stolen property every year and nearly the same amount from closing early due to threats of violence. Some businesses remained ‘low tech’ out of fear of having computers or other expensive equipment stolen.

The effect of violence on staff also has costs. The shockwaves from domestic violence affect staff performance, while attacks on workers travelling to and from the workplace are another hazard. Some businesses reported reluctance in hiring female employees due to their susceptibility to violence.

The report also raises concerns about the prevalence of private security firms creating a displacement of responsibilities from the country’s police, potentially weakening the foundations for law and order in the long term.

The report advocates for a multi-sectoral coordinated approach to address the issue, highlighting the need to address underlying drivers of violence and to strengthen formal law and order institutions.

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Community-level leadership and development outcomes in rural Papua New Guinea: evidence from three case study regions

Francis Essacu, Fenner School of Environment and Society

Thursday,14 August 2014, 1-2pm
Fenner Seminar Room, Frank Fenner Building, 141
Linnaeus Way, Australian National University

While natural resources can provide opportunities for the sustainable development of rural communities in low-income countries, there is often a wide gap between the potential to benefit local communities and those they actually receive. This gap is especially marked in rural Papua New Guinea. This study investigates whether the mode of leadership in rural communities in three case study regions of PNG resulted in better development outcomes for these communities.

Certain modes of leadership were more evident in some regions, with ‘participating’ and ‘influencing’ modes the most common across the three regions studied. ‘Participating’ leadership reflects both traditional and modern inclusive processes, but was often mediated by ‘influencing’ leadership that favoured the interests of a few. Leadership modes appeared to be influenced by the history of development in the case study region and the form and strength of pre-existing community-level institutions. No single mode of leadership was associated with development that resulted in higher levels of both prosperity and stability for the case study communities.

About the speaker
Francis Essacu has a background in resource development projects. He has ten years working experience with rural communities and natural resource development projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG) particularly in the Mining and Forestry sectors and has worked in a range of development contexts. A forester by profession, Francis also has expertise in the areas of community leadership and decision-making processes in natural resource development projects; livelihood developments, resource management and governance systems; community forestry, agroforestry systems, socio-economic and environmental impact assessments.

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Dennis O’Rourke’s films at the NFSA

The National Film and Sound Archive is featuring acclaimed documentary filmmaker Dennis O’Rourke all this month.


Details of the Dennis O’Rourke’s work and the schedule can be found here.

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ANU Archives launches new database

National Archives Director-General David Fricker and ANU Chief Librarian Roxanne Missingham at the launch of the ANU Archives database.

National Archives Director-General David Fricker and ANU Chief Librarian Roxanne Missingham at the launch of the ANU Archives database.

The Australian National University has launched a new archive database which makes national treasures of business, unions and the University available online for the first time.

National Archives of Australia Director-General David Fricker launched the new ANU Archives database, which includes historic documents from Australia’s colonial history.

“The ANU Archives has almost 20 kilometres of records, which are now searchable via major search engines such as Google and accessible right from the homepage of the ANU Archives website,” Mr Fricker said. “This is a very exciting day for the ANU Archives.”

Among the treasures are copies of letters from New South Wales to the London Office of the Australian Agricultural Company, and copies of letters by Company staff from 1824.

The archives also contain records of the establishment of the first Australian branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers Union, when a group of 26 members held a meeting on board the Frances Walker en route to Sydney on 8 October 1852.

“The database provides researchers with a self-service framework for accessing the information they are interested in, in a much simpler way,” said University Archivist, Maggie Shapley.

“Links have been created between the database and the University’s repository for digital material, the ANU Digital Collections, so researchers can access archival material online and as they need it.”

More than 40 per cent of item lists, or 60,000 items, have so far been entered on the database.

A number of significant items held in the ANU Archives are currently on display in the Treasures of the ANU Archives exhibition in theMenzies Library foyer and Archives Reading Room until 30 September.

The database can be searched via the ANU Archives homepage.

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Challenges and opportunities for women in Papua New Guinea


Friday 18 July 12.30 – 1.30pm

Avia Koisen
Principal, Koisen Lawyers
Emma Wurr
Principal Legal Officer for Human Rights, PNG Office of the Public Solicitor

Brindabella Theatre
Level 2, JG Crawford Building 132 Lennox Crossing, ANU

Women in Papua New Guinea are chronically under-represented in all levels of government and business and face barriers to achieving a tertiary education. Those who do succeed must navigate a male dominated workforce, while a small formal sector and rising unemployment limit opportunities.

This event will bring two prominent female professionals from Papua New Guinea to ANU to speak about their own experiences in this challenging environment and to share ideas on what can be done to increase women’s participation in the workforce, tertiary education and more widely.

The speakers will discuss challenges they have faced working in the public and private sectors and provide insights into the opportunities available to the new generation of Papua New Guinean women.

Avia Koisen is a civil lawyer with more than 18 years’ of experience and is Principal of Koisen Lawyers, her own civil law firm in Port Moresby. Mrs Koisen is also one of the founding members and currently the Interim President of the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce, established in 2013.

Emma Wurr is Principal Legal Officer for Human Rights at the PNG Office of the Public Solicitor. Ms Wurr graduated with Honours from the University of Papua New Guinea in 2007 and has since held various positions in the Public Solicitor’s Office.

This public lecture is presented by the Development Policy Centre at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

Registration at: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/events/4349/challenges-and-opportunities-women-papua-new-guinea?#tab

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UQ ePress Pacific Studies series, Australians in Papua New Guinea 1960-1975.

Edited by Ceridwen Spark (ANU), Seumas Spark (Monash) and Christina Twomey (Monash), Australians in Papua New Guinea, provides a history of the late Australian years in Papua New Guinea through the eyes of thirteen Australian and four Papua New Guineans.  The book presents the experiences of Australians who went to work in PNG over several decades before the 1970s many of whom made substantial contributions in the fields of governance, medicine and education.

This extraordinary collection of written reminiscences and interviews combines the rich and varied perspectives of men and women who were pioneers in this important Pacific nation’s path to independence.

Available 1 July 2014 at www.uqp.com.au and in book stores.

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Good and bad aid: The rise and fall of two South Pacific universities

by Dr Scott MacWilliam 

png UPNG Campus upng 550wide,Since the early 1990s at least, it has been commonplace to assess the consequences of international multilateral and bilateral aid in such terms as meeting `good’ governance criteria, providing for accountability, transparency and openness (Larmour 1998, pp. 1-20). Subsequently criteria including effectiveness have been utilised (Commonwealth of Australia 2011). As well, against the attacks from a vocal and influential anti-aid lobby, aid has been evaluated favourably in terms of whether it “really works” (Riddell 2014). The sub-text of all assessments, while rarely if ever stated, is whether aid advances capitalism, the accumulation of capital in the hands of a particular class, and meets particular welfare criteria. [Read more…]

Dr Scott MacWilliam is a visiting fellow in the State Society and Governance Program in Melanesia at Australian National University.

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Interactive map to find The Pacific at The ANU

Use this interactive map to find Pacific content in archived Outrigger pages, at ANU’s College of Asia and The Pacific or among ANU’s Digital Collections. Find ANU Researchers working in the islands or Open Access journal articles. Zoom in to see Pacific towns with proportional population markers [map reposted from March 2013].

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Strengthening health information: a pressing need for the Pacific

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A research article just published by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease reiterates the pressing need to strengthen health information in the Pacific, particularly in relation to data analysis, use and sharing.

The article focused on the findings and implications for the Pacific Islands of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study.

The Pacific estimates in this important study show that lower respiratory infections, diabetes, and diarrhoea cause the greatest overall burden and mortality, and depression, low back pain, and anaemia cause the greatest disability in the region.

These results are likely to be a useful tool for assessing health priorities and informing policy and programming in the Pacific, but lead author, Dr Damian Hoy from SPC, states that ‘they need to be interpreted with some caution given that the estimates for the Pacific are derived from models built with very limited data’.

The authors explain in their paper that the greatest challenge in making the Pacific estimates is the paucity of data in the region ‘that have been analysed, synthesised and made publicly available’.

Pacific health ministers are aware of the need to strengthen data analysis and use in the region. In 2011, they recommended the ‘development of comprehensive training programmes to develop core competencies in ‘data techs’, ‘epi techs’ and epidemiologists’.

The article presents and discusses the work currently carried out by several networks and partners in the region to address this issue: the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) Data for Decision Making training course, various operational research courses and initiatives, the Brisbane Accord Group initiative to strengthen vital statistics systems and the Pacific Health Information Network training activities.

Another PPHSN training programme led by SPC, not listed in the article because it is still under development, focuses on Strengthening Health Interventions in the Pacific (SHIP). This new initiative received the support of Directors of Health at the end of April and it will be presented to Pacific Ministers of Health in July.

Altogether, the article stresses that all these initiatives have great potential to contribute to rapidly strengthening data analysis and ensuring that good quality health data are available in the region.


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From floods to flames in Honiara

Over the first few days of April the low pressure system which eventually became Tropical Cyclone Ita deluged Guadalcanal. The resulting floods saw the Matanako and Lunga rivers burst their banks, inundating parts of Honiara. Further east rivers also flooded across the Guadalcanal Plains. The worst affected areas were the informal urban settlements that lay next to the Matanako and Lunga Rivers, as well as rural settlements on the Plains. At least 20 people died in the floods and many more were left homeless.

The flooding was almost two months ago now, yet for many of those flooded out of their homes, progress in return or resettlement has been slow. Too slow. According to ReliefWeb at least 4,000 people are still in temporary accommodation, and the health and sanitary situation is not good.

Last Friday (16 May), a group of people (possibly as many as several hundred) rioted and burnt stores near the Eastern edge of Honiara. The catalysts for the riot seem to have been frustration with the slow rebuilding, belief the nation’s political leaders are displaying insufficient concern for the victims, and a feeling that relief funding has been misappropriated. In the case of Friday’s riot — which came coupled with looting — these grievances appear to have been accompanied by a degree of opportunistic criminality.

In many ways the floods borne of the nascent tropical cyclone have been a perfect storm of sorts. It would be hard to design a natural disaster more likely to stress test the institutions and fault lines of today’s Solomon Islands.

Decades of limited economic development in rural parts of the country have contributed to urban migration concentrated on Honiara. And, as with so many other third world cities, the municipality has struggled to cope. Its informal settlements are large, poorly served, and often built atop insecure or indeterminate land tenure. Even a well-governed country would struggle to manage the re-housing of large numbers of people flooded out of these sorts of settlements.

And Solomon Islands is not a well-governed country. Patronage politics, and the political incentives which come coupled with it, have meant that both government departments and municipal bodies in Honiara perform far from optimally.

And so the country is struggling with the wake of its natural disaster.

The news is not entirely bleak. Solomons Police were able to bring the rioting under control, which suggests improved performance on their behalf, and Facebook forums have given birth both to local efforts to help flood victims and also to clean up after the riot, evidence perhaps of a newly growing civic culture, which might eventually come coupled with political change and improved governance. For now though, the sad fact of the matter is that the country is being sorely tested as weak institutions struggle to deal with a situation born both of deluge and under-development.

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Pacific partnerships to strengthen gender, climate change response and sustainable development

Monday, 19 May 2014

An innovative Pacific regional meeting to be held from 9 to 13 June in Nadi, Fiji, aims to advance the region’s interests in global United Nations bodies in key areas such as gender equality and climate change.

The meeting will bring together representatives of national, regional and global women-led civil society organisations (CSOs) and networks, national women’s machineries (NWMs) and high-level state representatives from New York missions and capitals to discuss, strategise and agree on priorities and political partnerships to advance gender, climate change and disaster risk reduction positions in the global sustainable development, post-2015 development and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change multilateral agendas. The high-level meeting on 13 June will be chaired by the Honourable Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu.

This initiative is co-convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Diverse Voices and Action for Equality and the Pacific Youth Council. Other partners include Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office, the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, The Women’s Major Group on Sustainable Development, the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, the Global Fund for Women, the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) and the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), with many others providing expertise, and financial and other resources.

With the Pacific Plan review underway as well as global processes such as preparation for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, Beijing+20 (the upcoming review of progress made in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, and discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, this is a timely opportunity to strengthen partnerships and engagement for implementation of regional and global priorities on gender, climate change and sustainable development, with the aim of demonstrating concrete policy results, and also increasing support for women-led civil society groups and national women’s machineries in the Pacific region.

The process adopted in the meeting aims to accomplish the following objectives. Firstly, to strategise and agree on urgent and long-term Pacific priorities and state and civil society partnerships to advance transformative gender, climate change and DRR positions into the global sustainable development agenda. Secondly, participants will also identify how CSOs and NWMs can support negotiators from Pacific missions and capital as they position Pacific priorities in global advocacy tracks. Thirdly, participants will discuss how to strengthen mechanisms to monitor implementation of policies, promote transparency, accountability and dialogue throughout the global gender, sustainable development and climate change agendas.


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