Infrastructure and security: problems of development in the West Sepik province of Papua New Guinea

Author/s (editor/s):

T.M. Boyce

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 93

The West Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the least developed of the nineteen provinces of the country. The West Sepik is also one of the country's two provinces bordering the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. As such, it faces the security problem of the presence and operation within provincial borders of a rebel group opposed to Indonesian sovereignty in Irian Jaya. The international border is therefore a potential source of friction and tension between Indonesia and PNG and the lack of border security in the West Sepik is an issue which can impact on the national interests of Indonesia, PNG and Australia.

The province is a prime example of the complicated relationship between infrastructure development and security. The purpose of this volume is to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between infrastructure development and security issues in an underdeveloped area of PNG. It describes the geography of the West Sepik; outlines the development of the province from the first European settlement up until the country's independence; describes the existing infrastructure and the government and administrative structures; examines the relationship between security issues and infrastructure; discusses development and security programs in the province; and, finally, proposes some alternative development strategies.

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