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Time to Embrace City Authorities – Ongoing Consultation is Essential

The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill  has called on people and officials in urban centres included in City Authority Legislation to embrace change and be creative in advancing their home areas.
PM O’Neill said while elements of the legislation are being embraced at a different pace in different cities, he said the Government is patient as it is important to be inclusive.
“The laws passed by Parliament for Lae, Mt Hagen and Kokopo are part of the Government’s drive to distribute economic development evenly across the country,” PM O’Neill said.
“The establishment of city authorities is part of the transfer of decision making and spending from Waigani to our centers of growth.
“Alongside the strengthening of local authority in these centres, there are ongoing infrastructure upgrades. This includes building 20 kilometer double lane highways into and out of these cities.
“We are also improving hospitals and upgrading the airports at Nadzab, Kokopo and Kagamuga to take international flights.”
The Prime Minister said accelerated development of the three cities has flow-on development for nearby towns and villages.
“With authority centred in Waigaini, there has often been limited opportunity for SMEs in towns such as Goroka, Wewak and Madang to provide good and services to Government.
“Now, as city authorities areas strengthen as local hubs, the surrounding towns and villages benefit and grow as quality service centers.”
PM O’Neill said the devolution of authority from Waigani to local governments is an essential part of the Government’s Economic Development Agenda and requires ongoing consultation to ensure inclusion.
“There has been some concern expressed as this development evolves, and change will not take place overnight but will be experienced in the coming months and years.
“We encourage ongoing consultation with all affected parties, which really means all people and businesses in the city authority areas.
“The creation of city authorities will change lives and provide new opportunities for people around our country and is part our Government’s Economic Development Agenda.”
At the 2012 election, the Government’s Economic Development Agenda committed to:
• Grow the economy;
• Create income and job opportunities;
• Stimulate private sector growth; and,
• Empower our people.
Relevant laws for the creation of City Authority Legislation have now been passed by the National Parliament.

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