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Australia urged to address corruption concerns in PNG

Transparency International is calling on the Australian Government to better support anti-corruption authorities in Papua New Guinea.

An investigation by the ABC's Four Corners claims that Canberra is not doing enough to help PNG track people associated with corruption and recover the proceeds of crime.

The report also alleges government funds in PNG are being syphoned offshore to Australia, with some powerful business and political players implicated in the practice.

Michael Ahrens, executive director of the Australian chapter of Transparency International, says there is much more Australia can do to help.He is calling on the Australian Government to immediately release a national anti-corruption plan that was prepared by the previous government but never finalised.

"Now is a wonderful time for the new government to pick it up, make sure it is up-to-date but immediately release it," Mr Ahrens said.

"I think the new government should sit down immediately with the Attorney General's department and plot out a priority program for this.

"It is just far too close to us. It shows that these issues are not just bribery and corruption abroad, but how close this is to our shores."

Mr Ahrens is urging the Abbott government to "press the buttons and not worry about sensitivities in PNG."

"The PNG prime minister has made strong statements about all this, and Sam Koim his anti-corruption chief has made very strong statements," he said.

"So now it is just a matter of getting into action."

Radio Australia
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