The inability of Papua New Guineans to travel easily to Australia is the ‘one continuing irritant’ in the Australia–PNG relationship,’ according to PNG Prime Minster Peter O’Neill in the recent Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum in Cairns, Australia.
‘It is a sad reality that a Papua New Guinean businessman or businesswoman wanting to visit Australia on business has more difficulty than ever in getting a visa. In a mature relationship this simply should not be the case,’ he said, bluntly.
Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop responded saying that Australia is working on a technical solution.
How long the Australian solution would take, remains unclear. However, Bishop said that the solution would resemble that used to process New Zealand visitors to Australia
In the meantime, PNG’s ban of visas on arrival for Australian citizens wanting to visit PNG is expected to remain in place, in spite of protestations from the outgoing President of the Australia–Papua New Guinea Business Council (APNGBC), Peter Taylor, who claimed the ban would affect around 20,000 Australian visitors to PNG annually.