PNG Project News
The PNG Project encompasses all the PNG-related research at the ANU Development Policy Centre. Welcome to the inaugural issue of PNG Project News! We’ll be sending it out every four weeks to inform you about our latest PNG-related research, blogs, events and news.

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Stephen Howes
Director, Development Policy Centre

PNG exchange rate 

In their recently published paper, Marcel Schroder and Rohan Fox put forward a model that suggests that the PNG Kina is currently overvalued by around 20%. In their associated blog, they highlight the severe consequences of a prolonged overvaluation for the economy and suggest that the Bank of PNG have the capacity to deal with the problem through relaxing the restrictions on the trading of foreign exchange.

Elections and the economy 

As the year forges on, national elections are at the forefront of many minds in PNG. Bal Kama previews the 2017 elections. Julien Barbara and Kerryn Baker show us how to improve the electoral chances of women candidates in Melanesia.
Nelson Nema and Stephen Howes set out the evidence that the PNG economy has been in recession, while Paul Flanagan summarises the state of PNG politics and the economy in 2016, and looks forward to what 2017 may have in store. (Note that the IMF yearly “Article IV” report on PNG’s economy has now been released.)
LNG Project landowner royalties
Confused by why royalties still haven’t been paid to landowners even after 2.5 years of LNG production? Sam Koim and Stephen Howes provide the first explanation of why. The fundamental problem is that it still hasn’t been decided who the landowners are – something that, by law, should have been settled in 2010. The implications – for ExxonMobil, for the current project, and for future projects – are unsettling.
Education and migration
Grant Walton and Tony Swan use the findings of their recent fieldwork to pose the question whether it could be the ‘beginning of the end’ for free education in PNG. Michael Cornish and UPNG student Methuselah Wabiria blog about the findings of their UPNG graduate exit survey. (Full Discussion Paper here.)

On migration, Henry Sherrell and Stephen Howes explore the remarkable increase in PNG school students coming to Australia, and Henry combines with Richard Curtain to see how the PNG government can learn from the successful approaches of the Fiji government in getting more of its workers to Australia and New Zealand through their respective seasonal worker programs.

Life in Port Moresby and PNG

Finally, Rohan Fox writes about his memories of Port Moresby as the child of an Australian advisor. And in a highly commented-on blog, Amanda Watson debunks the claim that PNG is the highest ranked country for pornography searches on Google.


The 2017 PNG Update, co-hosted by the ANU and UPNG, will be held 10 - 11 August this year at UPNG. Save the date and get your abstracts ready. We will release a call for papers soon.
The 2017 Australasian Aid Conference was held on 15-16 February at ANU. The conference included several talks concerning Papua New Guinea – healthcare provision in PNG, international relations, women’s coalitions in PNG and urban settlements, all this in addition to several topics relevant to PNG including labour mobility, international donors, aid, politics and state-building. Stay tuned for presentations and podcasts of the talks, some of which have already been uploaded to the Development Policy Centre podcast.

In December 2016, Sir Nagora Bogan, Chairman of the PNG Tax Reform Commission, gave a wide-ranging seminar at the Crawford School on the need for urgent tax reform, the need to develop a much broader economic base and the importance of this diversification for PNG’s long-term development. The talk is available for streaming (along with many others on PNG) on the podcast. Presentation here.
People news

The ANU team at UPNG welcomes Dr Amanda Watson, who will be teaching in to the Public Policy strand at the School of Business and Public Policy. Dr Watson has many years of experience in PNG including researching the use of mobile phones for development.

Dr Carmen Voigt-Graf returned to the Development Policy Centre in Canberra after three years as a Senior Research Fellow at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby. Carmen has worked in a range of economic issues in the Pacific, particularly in the areas of labour mobility, migration, and regional integration.

Mr Ani Ila Rova and Mr Maholopa (‘Maho’) Laveil arrived in Canberra earlier this month to commence a 2-year Masters in International and Development Economics (IDEC) at the ANU. Ani is a long-term faculty member in the Division of Economics at the University of Papua New Guinea, and Maho one of the best economics graduates in recent years. Both have been awarded scholarships under the ANU-UPNG partnership

Finally, it is with great sadness that we learnt of the tragic and untimely death of Mr Raymond Logie on 31 January 2017. Raymond undertook his Master of Public Policy at the Crawford School between 2012 and 2013 under an Australian Aid program scholarship. He was a model student, quiet and unassuming with very impressive academic results. Raymond was a senior public servant, Executive Manager of Legislative and Administrative Reform in the Department of Personnel Management. He is survived by his wife and three sons. Our hearts go out to them.


PNG on - recent posts
Papua New Guinea stumbles to an election by Paul Flanagan

2017: a year of redefining democracy? by Bal Kama
Has PNG been in recession? by Nelson Nema and Stephen Howes
PNG landowner royalties – why so long? by Sam Koim and Stephen Howes
The beginning of the end for “free education” in PNG? by Grant Walton and Tony Swan
Stories from Port Moresby by Rohan Fox

First in class: PNG student migration to Australia by Henry Sherrell and Stephen Howes
Does PNG rank highly for internet porn searches? by Amanda Watson

How recruitment and selection can shape seasonal work programs: comparing Fiji and Papua New Guinea by Richard Curtain and Henry Sherrell

Improving the electoral chances of Melanesian women: an evidence-based approach by Julien Barbara and Kerryn Baker

What future for PNG economics students? Findings from a graduate exit survey by Michael Cornish and Methuselah Wabiria

How much is PNG's kina overvalued? by Marcel Schroder and Rohan Fox

If you have any suggestions for this newsletter, please email with the details.
We acknowledge the support of the Australian Aid program, which funds the ANU Crawford School-UPNG School of Business and Public Policy partnership as part of the PNG-Australia Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct. Other funders of the Development Policy Centre's PNG Project are the Harold Mitchell Foundation and the ANU. The views expressed in the newsletter are entirely those of the authors with which they are associated, and should not be attributed to Development Policy Centre, the ANU, the Precinct or any of the Centre's other funders. 
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