PNG stands firm on Ross Garnaut ban

Adam Gartrell, | AAP

Papua New Guinea’s leader is standing firm on his decision to ban Australian climate change adviser Ross Garnaut from entering his country.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill maintains Professor Garnaut insulted his nation’s leaders during a media interview and is no longer welcome there.

Prof Garnaut, who is chairman of Ok Tedi Mining, was quoted by The Australian newspaper as saying that with such an accumulation of wealth in PNG, it was “tempting for political figures to think of better ways of using it right now rather than putting it into long-term development”.

Mr O’Neill said Prof Garnaut’s statement was not true and could damage his country’s reputation.

“As a leader of the country I cannot stand by and allow comments like those to continue,” he told reporters at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

“It was irresponsible. He has to take ownership of that statement.”

Mr O’Neill says his government has sought an explanation.

“Some of the explanations he’s given to us are not acceptable to us,” Mr O’Neill said.

Mr O’Neill has previously said Prof Garnaut, who until recently was also chairman of the PNG Sustainable Development Fund (PNGDF) trust, would not be allowed back in until control of the Ok Tedi mine was given back to the PNG people.

The trust was given ownership of the Ok Tedi mine, located in PNG’s Western Province, by mining giant BHP Billiton.

Mr O’Neill claims BHP is running the PNGSDF by remote control from Melbourne and has questioned whether the 37-year-old nation had benefited from the project.

The prime minister on Wednesday reiterated his call for BHP to back off.

“There is no longer a valid reason for it to continue to exercise any control over the board appointments to that fund,” he said.

7 Comments

Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

7 responses to “PNG stands firm on Ross Garnaut ban

  1. Bush kanaka mangi

    Peter ONeil must have woken up from a deep sleep now and realize about the remote control problem. Now that he has maintained that stand rigorously.. Iam proud.

    Even Sir Mekere’s appointment as new Chairman of the PNGSDP Board, has questions still over it about the remote control issue.

    BHP must leave all control of and over Ok Tedi to PNG and its people, as the whole Western Province people have not benefitted over the years, but living a miserable life. The one third of PNGSDP funds is not changing the lives and standard of the people and living below poverty level and are dying slowly because their environment has died, when their spirit dies, the body dies also.

    So fuck off BHP and Ross Ganaut, donot come to PNG.

    ONeil please maintain that position, we are fully in support of this.

    BKM

  2. Wesely

    oh, here we have O’Neil about to do exactly what the Prof said night happen
    O’Neil should be banned from entering Australia.

  3. Caleb Niara

    The company PNGSDP is a gift back to the people of Western Province, to compensate for the environmental catastrophe that BHP Billton has done.. its main area of development is Western Province plus other provinces in support of or complement of the National Government.. This is so ridiculous of of the government to try digging into PNGSDF, it belongs to the people of Western Province.. The government should learn their lesson from Bougainville.

  4. Well done Mr. Prime Minister, enough of second class treatment from the so called racist Australians.

    • Wesely

      Elizabeth, you are just so indecently corny.
      You live in one of the most corrupt nations in the southern hemisphere if not the world and all you want to do is winge and whine and complain because a person on the outside of all that disgusting one-tock self interest and corruption questioned the possibility of the PNGSDP being corruptly plundered by Waigani. .
      Its clear that O’Neil has this in mind.
      And you put you stupid ‘national pride” (really just infantile ego) in from of logic.
      If you live in a failed state you have only yourself to blame.
      O’Neil is a second class Prime Minister in a failed state..

  5. Flo Pondrilei

    Is it possible that Ganaut’s comments were made in the interest of PNG’s longterm development prospects? After all PNGSDF is a trust set up to serve that end. This fund could be seen as something similar to a sovereign fund, serving PNG for a longtime to come after all resources have been depleted. One may ask: Is Ganaut protecting his own interest or the long-term economic future of PNG? You be the judge.. Racist Australians or are we PNGians with inferiority complex?

  6. When will we ever learn? The politicians have stolen from under our noses for years and we have just sat back clapping our hands. Just a mention of this truth by a non Papua New Guinean and we get offended and react like stupid children.. PNG youre growing old, when will you grow up??

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