The BGA Papua New Guinea Team, led by Senior Adviser Amb. Ian Kemish, wrote an update to clients on the long-awaited bilateral security agreement between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia. 


  • PNG and Australia have signed a bilateral security agreement after months of negotiations. The new pact, which PNG Prime Minister James Marape and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced in Canberra December 7, significantly strengthens ties between the two established partners. 
  • The agreement significantly upgrades Australia and PNG’s long-standing security relationship and provides a framework of accountability to each other. It represents a key strategic move for Australia. 


  • The agreement seeks to enhance PNG’s security capabilities. It encourages expanded bilateral cooperation in traditional security, such as defense, policing and law and justice, and over a broad scope of other security areas, including cybersecurity, climate change and combating gender-based violence. Australia will provide AUD 200 million (US$131.1 million) in funding to PNG over the next four years to support its national security priorities. 
  • The region has seen a string of other initiatives to expand policing and security ties in the past week. China invited senior police officers from across the Pacific to a meeting in Beijing December 8 that included a dialogue on policing in the region. A few days prior, France hosted a meeting of defense ministers from the region in New Caledonia. The meeting resulted in an agreement to establish a joint military unit to respond to regional climate and humanitarian disasters and security crises. 


  • PNG has maintained that the agreement will not compromise its “friends to all” foreign policy stance, but the deal is nonetheless a strategic win for Australia in the regional contest for influence, particularly relating to China. The agreement is legally binding and commits both countries to prioritize consulting each other and coordinating a joint response in the face of direct or regional security threats. 
  • For both China and its competitors, the pursuit of security partnerships and cooperation with the Pacific Island countries has become a key goal in the contest for influence, a dynamic that will continue to play out in the region. PNG and other Pacific Island countries will continue to leverage this interest for their own development aspirations. 

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Papua New Guinea. If you have any questions or comments, please contact BGA Senior Adviser Amb. Ian Kemish at

Best regards, 

BGA Papua New Guinea Team