Too Close to Ignore

Australia’s Borderland with PNG and Indonesia

Mark Moran, Jodie Curth-Bibb
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Too Close to Ignore

Published

17 March 2020

ISBN

9780522875485

Imprint

MUP Academic

Too Close to Ignore

Australia’s Borderland with PNG and Indonesia

Mark Moran, Jodie Curth-Bibb
Less than five kilometres from Australia's most northern islands in the Torres Strait lies the southern coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The people living on the PNG side of the border along the South Fly coast live in abject poverty, with a near total absence of services and infrastructure. The disparity in income, housing and health outcomes when compared with their nearby neighbours and relatives in the Torres Strait Island, is extreme The border is the focus of a range of interventions by the Australian and Queensland governments, including border protection, quarantine, marine resource management, and infectious disease control, including an alarming outbreak of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Restrictions are increasing on trading, fishing and access to Australian services. However, questions remain as to whether this focus is having unintended consequences, increasing the destitution and frustration on the PNG side, in turn exacerbating the security threat to Australia. And as…
Less than five kilometres from Australia's most northern islands in the Torres Strait lies the southern coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The people living on the PNG side of the border along the South Fly coast live in abject poverty, with a near total absence of services and infrastructure. The disparity in income, housing and health outcomes when compared with their nearby neighbours and relatives in the Torres Strait Island, is extreme. The border is the focus of a range of interventions by the Australian and Queensland governments, including border protection, quarantine, marine resource management, and infectious disease control, including an alarming outbreak of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Restrictions are increasing on trading, fishing and access to Australian services. However, questions remain as to whether this focus is having unintended consequences, increasing the destitution and frustration on the PNG side, in turn exacerbating the security threat to Australia. And as the Australian border hardens, the Indonesian border beckons. This book presents the results of three years of research into the unique social and political geography of the borderland. The Torres Strait Treaty between Australia and PNG serves to construct a complex institutional layering, a tiered economy and a hierarchy of identities between those South Fly villagers who have rights under the Treaty to travel into Australia, and those who do not. This creates a politics of expectation and frustration that permeates everyday life along the South Fly coast, through which development projects must navigate.

Mark Moran

Mark Moran

Mark Moran leads the Development Effectiveness research cluster at the Institute of Social Science Research, The University of Queensland. His career spans academia, non-for-profit organisations, government and consultancy work. Mark has a unique background of technical and social science research with a degree in civil engineering and a PhD in governance and participatory planning. His primary research focus is the social science of adaptive development practice, understanding its capabilities, conditions, frameworks and accountabilities. His extensive…

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