Australia has a long relationship with Papua New Guinea and supporting the agriculture sector is one way of strengthening this partnership, says Australia's new Consulate General to Lae, Paul Murphy. During his first official visit to the NARI Head Office at Bubia on February 28, 2017, Murphy also acknowledged the Institute as a long-time key partner in delivering Australian government-funded projects over the years. While pledging Australia’s continued support, Murphy said institutions like NARI have contributed significantly to improving the agriculture sector through its research efforts in crop and livestock production for farmers.
Murphy was met by NARI Director General Dr Sergie Bang, executive management and staff at the Sir Alkan Tololo Research Centre, who also exhibited some of the current research and development projects and programs, including those funded by Australian Government facilities.
When announcing the appointment, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said Australia was committed to building its economic and strategic partnership with PNG.
“As Papua New Guinea’s commercial hub, Lae is integral to Australia’s more than A$18 billion (K41.0597bn) investment in Papua New Guinea. Lae is also home to a number of Australian businesses,” Bishop said in a statement.
“The Consulate-General will support the delivery of Australia’s aid investment in Papua New Guinea, expected to be more than A$550 million (K1,254.60m) in 2016-17.
“Our investment is focused on promoting effective governance, enabling economic growth and enhancing human development.”
At NARI, Murphy toured exhibits of various NARI programs which included livestock (pig feed, chicken, and aquaculture), food processing and post harvest, Galip nut (Canarium) development (an Australian Government-funded project), and farm mechanisation (kisar rice mills).
Murphy also visited the PNG Women in Agriculture set-up also located at Bubia where President Maria Linibi highlighted the women network's partnerships and programs.
The Consulate General took over from Alan McLay, President of the Lae Chamber of Commerce & Industry, who had held the post of Honorary Consul and provided consular services for Australians in Lae over the last three years.
Murphy is a DEFAT career officer who was most recently the Assistant Director, Free Trade Agreement Division. He has served as First Secretary (Economic), Australian High Commission, Port Moresby. In Canberra, Murphy has served in the Iraq Task Force and the International Economic and Finance Sections. He holds Bachelors of Economics and Arts from the Australian National University.