The iconic Kimbe Town Market in West New Britain will undergo a major redevelopment to expand trading space and vendor services under a partnership between Australia, New Zealand and the West New Britain Provincial Government.
At an event to announce New Zealand’s involvement in the project, and showcase the Kimbe Market redevelopment designs, Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp acknowledged the project’s important contributions to community life in West New Britain and neighbouring areas.
“Improvements to market infrastructure and management will enhance the experiences of visitors and vendors at this iconic market and make a major contribution to economic development and community life,” he said.
“In addition to improving public health, the redeveloped facilities will also make it safer for women market vendors, who represent approximately 80% of all vendors, to operate at the market.”
The new facilities will include construction of covered spaces for 700 vendors, plus additional covered areas and open spaces that can be used for trading and market services. Improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities will aid the prevention of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, and additional security facilities will contribute to the market’s vendors and shoppers’ safety and security.
The market redevelopment will be jointly funded by Australia, New Zealand and the West New Britain Provincial Government, with Australia contributing up to PGK 13 million and New Zealand contributing PGK 11 million. The West New Britain Regional MP, the Hon. Sasindran Muthuvel, has committed a further PGK 5 million to the project from the Provincial Services Improvement Programme (PSIP).
“This approach to partnership between Australia, New Zealand and the West New Britain Provincial Government, will strengthen economic and social outcomes for vendors and the community in West New Britain, and highlights the importance of ‘Mahi tahi’ – working towards a common purpose with shared objectives” said Acting New Zealand High Commissioner Nathan Ross.
Having initiated the project, the Honourable Member thanked Australia for its partnership and support. “The people of West New Britain are very appreciative of the friendship that exists between Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
“The PGK 5 million is allocated from the West New Britain PSIP and shows how a collaborative approach with our closest bilateral partners can result in a large-scale, transformative project to support economic and social development.”
Australia is working with the Provincial Government, the New Zealand Government, the Kimbe Market Working Group and UN Women to deliver the project through the PNG-Australia Partnership, including through comprehensive community consultations. Completion of the market redevelopment and expansion project is anticipated in October 2022.