MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge wanted diplomatic ties with Australia severed and a ban imposed on imports from Australia. He said this is the appropriate response to Australias failure to apologise over the security check issue in which Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare was searched three times at the Brisbane airport last month.
Mr Wenge praised Chief Secretary to government Joshua Kalinoe for taking action by suspending the ECP, but said more should be done. He said the Government must now consider banning imports from Australia such as rice, milk and butter, fruits and pork meat that will save almost K1 billion from leaving our shores. He said this would improve our foreign exchange and ease pressure on the kina.
People are now growing rice and the ban will force them to produce more, which will save millions of kina going out on imported rice, Mr Wenge said. He said it was time Papua New Guineans were made to grow and eat local food rather than depending heavily on imports.
The governor said Papua New Guineans must be made to learn not to rely on Australian imports and Australian aid.
Mr Wenge also rejected comments by Western province Governor Dr Bob Danaya in support of the AusAID programme, saying Dr Danaya should be concentrating on looking for ways to utilize the money derived from the Ok Tedi Mine to develop his province rather than wait for Australian handouts.
Governor Wenge has been a vocal critic of Australia and its aid programme to PNG, and has launched a court proceeding in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the K2 billion Enhanced Cooperation Package programme. A decision on this is expected soon.
Australian officials who are in the country under the ECP may, in fact, pack up and go if Mr Wenge is successful in his case.
By PHILIP DOWA
I THINK WENGE IS CRAZY.... THE REALITY IS THAT PNG CAN'T SURVIVE WITHOUT THE AUSTRALIA'S AID TO PNG EVERY YEAR..