Papua New Guinea is Australia's closest neighbour geographically with a shared colonial history and the largest recipient of Australia development assistance. Yet few Australians today can say that they know how people in PNG feel about their own communities or about Australia.
This report outlines findings from the first major study of the attitudes of Papua New Guinean citizens toward PNG society and the bilateral relationship with Australia. The research captures a wide cross-section of perspectives and experiences from ordinary PNG citizens, including those living in a remote part of PNG, voices that are rarely heard in more official forums.
The recent security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China has raised concerns about Australia’s relationships with Pacific Island nations and the changing strategic environment within the region. It also highlights the need for deeper engagement and the importance of listening more and better to the diverse perspectives, priorities and aspirations of Pacific Island communities.
Overall, respondents were largely positive about Australia, widely praising Australia’s role in supporting PNG financially. However, the research also highlights the need to listen more and better to the evolving priorities and aspirations of Australia's closest neighbour.