JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH HON JOHN PUNDARI MP, PAPUA NEW GUINEA MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The Kokoda Initiative – an arrangement between the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia to protect the Owen Stanley ranges region and the Kokoda Track – was the key focus of discussions between Ministers the Hon. Greg Hunt MP and the Hon. John Pundari MP today.
A World Heritage listing for the Owen Stanley Ranges and Kokoda is an important objective under the Initiative. It helps to build tourism and economic development opportunities for local people and provide a high level of protection for the natural and cultural values of the area.
In addition to protecting the special values of the Kokoda Track region, the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments are also working closely together to deliver improvements in education, health and water and sanitation infrastructure for communities in the region.
“I am pleased that this July we completed the delivery of 240 tonnes of building material to construct more education, health and water and sanitation infrastructure for communities in the region,” Mr Hunt said.
“By the end of the year we will have built or renovated about 50 of these facilities, including 15 double classroom schools. This is just some of our development work which has benefited many people in the region.
“I commend Minister Pundari and his parliamentary colleagues from the region for their leadership on the Kokoda Initiative,” Mr Hunt said.
“The commitment by our two governments to protect the Kokoda Track region and deliver development outcomes for its people, honour the special bond of friendship formed between our peoples in this region during World War II,” Mr Pundari said.
The two Ministers visited the Kokoda track today, allowing Minister Hunt an opportunity to see firsthand the landscape in which the Papuan Infantry Battalion and Australians fought the Japanese during the Kokoda campaign in 1942.
For more information on the Kokoda Initiative go to: http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/international-projects/papua-new-guinea