The new government’s policies under discussion


‘I’ve changed a little bit in the way we will be doing business. Previously, my predecessors and others were talking directly to investors.

‘I’ve now shifted the way, allowing our public service and our system to generate discussions, ensuring that we are getting the right discussions at various levels before projects are signed.

‘We’ll be working to ensure our investors appreciate that.’
— Prime Minister James Marape, addressing the Lowy Institute in Sydney last week.

Welcome to the third monthly ‘Letter from the Publisher’.

The World Bank’s latest economic update on Papua New Guinea makes for interesting reading. We can expect growth this year in PNG, but how much will depend on a lot of factors, not all of which are within PNG’s control.

On the surface, a predicted 5.6% GDP growth sounds pretty good, but this is against negative growth in 2018 (the bank says minus 0.5%, PNG’s new Treasurer Sam Basil says minus 0.7%) and much will depend on commodity prices and the smooth progress of two projects currently experiencing what we hope will be only short-term hiccups: the Total-led Papua LNG project and the Newcrest Mining/Harmony Gold Wafi-Golpu project.

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This is a big time for PNG’s resources sector. Not only are we awaiting news on the above major projects but the PNG Chamber of Mines has drawn attention to the subdued exploration activity in the sector, which it says is running counter to global trends. Meanwhile, a revised Mining Act is expected before Parliament in September.

Prime Minister James Marape is promising to do things differently, as his quotation above indicates. The new government’s policies will be very much under discussion at Business Advantage’s 2019 Papua New Guinea Investment Conference at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney on 19 and 20 August.

This is the main event we hold each year for our readers (that’s you!) and I’m the MC.

Given the state of the resources sector, I’m particularly looking forward to speaking with two of PNG’s most experienced and respected resources executives, Oil Search’s Peter Botten and Ok Tedi Mining’s Peter Graham (the man who delivered the PNG LNG project for ExxonMobil).

My discussion with the ‘Two Peters’ promises to be both topical and memorable.

So does Bernard Salt’s keynote, which will open the conference. A renowned business analyst, author and demographer, Salt is one of Australia’s best business speakers and we’ve asked him to talk about global trends and how they are likely to affect PNG over the coming decade. This is big picture stuff and few do it better.

With PNG’s telecommunications infrastructure improving steadily, we have also commissioned a special keynote presentation from tech expert and futurist Mark Pesce on the business opportunities that will flow from PNG’s improved internet connectivity. Mark’s influential Next Billion Seconds podcast has 1.5 million listeners and he will join the conference fresh from moderating at the G20 in Osaka.

I’m also looking forward to hearing:

  • World Bank economist Ilyas Sarsenov expand on the bank’s latest PNG update
  • more about PNG’s energy roadmap from PNG Power’s pawa meri, Carolyn Blacklock
  • Chairman David Lawrence’s plans to expand PNG’s stock exchange (now called PNGX)
  • about the billions of Kina planned for PNG’s roads, ports and airports
  • Investment Promotion Authority Chairman Leon Buskens on the changes to PNG’s foreign investment laws.

With 38 speakers over two days, including business updates on Fiji and the Solomon Islands, and a private tour and dinner at Sydney’s iconic Museum of Contemporary Art, the conference promises to offer something for everyone.

You can register now at

I look forward to seeing you there.

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