October 9, 2010 Saturday
1 - Edition
A VIOLENT raid on a construction camp for the $16.5 billion liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea has underlined the risks for investment in Australia's resource-rich neighbour. However Townsville businesspeople trading in PNG are nonchalant.
``It's nothing out of the ordinary,'' one Townsville businessman working in PNG said yesterday.
The raid occurred at night at a camp being constructed by Townsville company Curtain Bros and Perth-based Clough Engineering for the huge Exxon-Mobil-led LNG project.
Several men raided a compound area used for storage of heavy machinery, setting alight a Caterpillar 740 dump truck and another truck and damaging other equipment, some of it with gunfire. No-one was at the site at the time and no-one was injured.
Townsville Chamber of Commerce president John Carey, pushing renewed business links with PNG, said the risks of doing business there, particularly in relation to law and order and civil unrest, were well known.
Mr Carey said violence among competing tribal groups was an unfortunate byproduct of a rapid increase in wealth such as that provided by the LNG project. He said recent Townsville trade delegations had been successful with a business reporting yesterday it had won work and another saying it was negotiating a joint venture.
Mr Carey said the chamber would meet with airport officials soon to prepare a case for direct flights between Townsville and Port Moresby.