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Bougainville sends first ten participants to Australia under Labor Mobility Program

The first ten participants of the Labor Mobility Program of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville were sent off yesterday to begin their journey to Australia.

The Labor Mobility Program is a partnership between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Australia aimed at empowering young Bougainvilleans by offering them work opportunities in Australia's agriculture sector.

The ten female recipients were selected from across the four regions of Bougainville from North, Central, South and Nissan/Atolls, and will be in Australia for nine months working in the agriculture sector.

Secretary for the ABG Department of Commerce, Trade and Economic Department Mr. Alex Kerangpuna speaking on behalf of the Minister and the Directorate of Trade and Economic Development expressed his gratitude and urged the recipients to seize the opportunity and be ambassadors for Bougainville.

“Congratulations on being the pioneers of this program, take ownership of the program, be ambassadors of Bougainville while in Australia. Participation in this program is a milestone for your, families, community, people of Bougainville and also for the government,” Mr. Kerangpuna said.

He explained that although PNG had it its own labor mobility program, having such a program exclusively for Bougainville is a great achievement as it will also strengthen ties and opportunities for Bougainvilleans to be involved in this program and contribute towards its economy in preparation for its future political independence aspiration.

He further thanked the partnership of the Government of Australia through this program and looked forward to more such engagements in the future. Secretary Kerangpuna also acknowledged the generous support provided through the Office of the Regional Member for Bougainville towards the program. 

First Secretary to the Australian High Commission in Bougainville Dr. Fiona Crawford said it was an honor for Australia to partner with the ABG to start this as a pilot program in Bougainville.

“The labor mobility program is essential to the Australian Government’s commitment to build a stronger Pacific family, it aims to strengthen links between people, businesses and communities, fostering deep connections between Australia and Papua New Guinea,” she said.

According to Dr. Crawford, this program provides the economic pathway for participants to develop skills, earn good income and support their families back home, adding that the recipients will not only invest their savings in their families and communities but also contribute to the local economy by starting new businesses.

“I congratulate you all for being the pioneers of this program and urge you to take this opportunity to learn as much as you can, promote Bougainvillean culture within the communities you will live and work in and be the ambassadors of Bougainville,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Samantha Makasu, a recipient of the program thanked the Australian government and the ABG for the opportunity to given them to attend this, adding that they will do their best to be ambassadors of Bougainville.

“On behalf of the recipients, I want to thank the support and opportunity given to us when we were selected and we want to assure you all and our families that we will do our best, learn as much as we can and return to assist our families, communities and Bougainville as a whole,” Samantha said.

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