Aid offer to stem tide of PNG ill

Sean Parnell; 10/11/09

The Papua New Guinea government is examining a package of health measures that Australia helped to develop, in a desperate bid to address the serious risk of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV crossing the Torres Strait. As thousands of PNG nationals cross each year to access Queensland Health services, breaching the free movement provisions of the Torres Strait Treaty that cover only traditional activities, local islanders and Australian governments are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential public health impacts. The Australian reported yesterday how community leaders, including Torres Strait Regional Authority chairman John Kris, had accused the federal government of turning a blind eye to their health, safety, security and resourcing concerns, as the political debate instead focused attention on boat arrivals in the Indian Ocean.