In the 1960s young Papua New Guineans training for positions as senior public servants at the Administrative College talked about the future of an independent country. The informal discussion group, known as the ‘Bully Beef Club’, comprised an exceptional group of Papua New Guinea’s future independence leaders, including the first Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Today is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme, Be Bold for Change, calls on all of us to step up to help create a world that is more inclusive and equal. The aim is for a world that is more peaceful and sustainable, where the contribution of women is recognised, valued and respected. Australia is committed to this endeavour.

Australia is perfectly situated geographically, institutionally and linguistically, to service PNG’s emerging economy. The Australian Government’s decision to establish a Consulate-General in Lae recognises this and will support trade and investment links to the benefit of both Australia and PNG.