Australia’s support to PNG’s transport sector is delivered through the Papua New Guinea-Australia Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP). TSSP commenced in 2007 as a 15-20 year commitment to support the Government of Papua New Guinea to achieve a well-maintained transport infrastructure network. The current TSSP Phase 2 (2015-2020) is valued at up to $400 million.
Australia’s investment in PNG’s transport sector reflects the importance of transport infrastructure, such as roads, ports and airports, in facilitating the efficient flow of produce to markets and the provision of essential services and consumer goods. Australia’s investment in PNG’s transport infrastructure is a key enabler of economic growth and is the largest component of Australia’s aid for trade investment in PNG. It is also a core component of Australia’s economic diplomacy agenda.
A safer, more reliable transport network enabling economic and social development in Papua New Guinea
The three end-of-program outcomes are:
The key areas of program focus are based around the following strategic outcomes:
TSSP activities are coordinated at the highest level by the Transport Sector Coordination, Monitoring and Implementation Committee (TSCMIC).
Australia’s new aid paradigm, released in mid-2014, set out a performance framework titled Making Performance Count: enhancing the accountability and effectiveness of Australian aid which aimed to strengthen performance and assessment of that performance within the aid program. TSSP works within and towards the goals of the new paradigm, including the high-level targets set out to ensure effective management and delivery of key Government priorities and activities. TSSP activities are designed to align with the priorities of both governmentsand to position TSSP activities to address key constraints to sustainable economic growth and equitable development in PNG. This approach responds directly to the goals set out in the Government of Australia’s aid assessment summary paper titled 'A new direction for Australian aid in PNG: refocusing Australian aid to help unlock PNG’s economic potential.'
TSSP works with PNG Transport Sector agencies to develop an agreed portfolio of projects to be considered for Australian funding. Individual projects are procured by the respective agency, or the TSSP managing contractor, with the Australian High Commission (AHC) providing oversight throughout the process via TSSP.
Prior to advertising a project tender, the agency and TSSP are required to satisfy the AHC that the proposed contract and tender documents conform to important provisions of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPR). Following the tender process, and prior to entering into a contract, the agency and TSSP are then required to satisfy the AHC that the entire process was carried out to appropriate standards of probity as required by the CPR.
TSSP provides financial oversight of contracts managed by transport sector agencies through a review and approval process. This process is undertaken prior to release of any Australian funds. TSSP funded technical staff in the sector agencies provide a lead role in the management of the Australian funded contracts which includes ensuring all payments are in accordance with contract conditions. The contract claims are subject to TSSP verification, certification and approval by TSSP technical and finance personnel prior to Australian funds being released to an agency. An annual external audit is also undertaken in applicable sector agencies.
Engineering and technical oversight for TSSP projects is managed by technical personnel funded by the Australian Government. As managing contractor for TSSP, SMEC provides engineering and technical services through a variety of specialists based within PNG Transport Sector agencies and at the TSSP head office. The Australian Government also co-funds inline positions in PNG maritime and aviation agencies to provide technical supervision duties. Engineering, technical and other reporting is regularly provided to the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby across all Australian funded projects.