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Media Statement: Detailed descriptions of referendum choices approved

The President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea has jointly endorsed the detailed descriptions of the two referendum choices of greater autonomy and independence.

The detailed descriptions are summarized as follows: 

Greater Autonomy

Under ‘greater autonomy’, the National Government will continue to support the implementation of the existing autonomy arrangements, including all provincial powers and functions that were assumed automatically in 2005, and provide additional powers and functions to the Bougainville government.

Examples of powers that could be available to Bougainville under ‘greater autonomy’ include:

  • Industrial relations
  • Foreign aid and Investment
  • International trade and civil aviation
  • Migratory and straddling fish stocks
  • Additional taxation and other revenue-raising powers



Independence for Bougainville as a nation State with full sovereignty will entail:

  • A defined territory, inclusive of maritime boundaries and associated Exclusive Economic Zone
  • A form of government chosen by decisions of the people from time to time
  • Capacity to enter into and manage relations with other states as well as international organizations
  • A right to apply for UN membership
  • Capacity to deal with international finance institutions

An independent Bougainville would have the full range of powers and functions exercised by independent states, and in particular the powers necessary to generate its own revenues inclusive of control of natural resources, control of all categories of taxation and ability to raise loans.

Representative Kinds of Powers of an Independent State include:

  • Security (including border security)
  • Judiciary, including final court of appeal
  • Police service
  • Foreign affairs
  • Telecommunications and postal services
  • Citizenship
  • Quarantine
  • Central bank


The descriptions were agreed to in an exchange of letters between the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Chief Dr John Momis and Prime Minister, James Marape this month.

The endorsed detailed descriptions have been provided to the Bougainville Referendum Commission who will be providing this information to the public through awareness.

The endorsement of the detailed descriptions now provides greater clarity for the people of Bougainville as they prepare for the November 23 referendum. 

Click here to download full document of detailed descriptions. 

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