Australia, PNG to seek Kokoda heritage listing

Australia and Papua New Guinea will jointly seek a world heritage listing for the Owen Stanley Ranges and the famous Kokoda Track.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said this would help to build tourism and economic development opportunities for local people and provide a high level of protection for the natural and cultural values of the area.

Hunt, who visited the Kokoda Track with PNG environment minister John Pundari on Monday, said the listing was an important objective under the Kokoda Initiative, launched in 2008 to protect and manage this important area.

Meanwhile, Australia is helping fund a floating medical training and healthcare ship for remote coastal villages in Papua New Guinea.

The federal government has contributed $2 million (US$1.4 million) toward the Youth with a Mission project over four years, parliament was told on Monday.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill commissioned the vessel in April.