Official Opening of Koki Market Transit Centre
National Capital District
7 September 2017
Remarks by Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Bruce Davis
About a year ago, I was standing on this site with a shovel in my hand to break the ground to start the building of a new Transit Centre for women and their families travelling down from Central province, to market their produce at Koki Market.
Today, I am proud to join you today at the official opening of the completed Transit Centre.
Much work has been done to make Koki Market a safer and healthier market for the people of Port Moresby, and these renovations have made a big difference to the safety of sellers and buyers at the market, around 80% of whom are women.
Through the UN Women Safe Cities program, the Australian Government has invested $6.7million in the renovation of markets and $3.4million in the Safe Public Transport for Women and Girls – better known as the Seif Meri Buses.
We are proud to partner with you, Minister Tkatchenko, the National Capital District Commission, and Moresby South Market Board and I acknowledge the significant investment of 15,000,000 kina that you have brought to this partnership.
The construction of this Transit Centre, which Australia is proud to support, will increase the opportunities for women to run their businesses and support their families in an environment free from violence. This Centre provides a safe haven for women and their families to stay in overnight when they come to market their produce in the city.
In the past, many women travelling to take part in this traditional market had to take their chances, sleeping rough inside the market, and unfortunately many were exposed to violent crime and robbery.
This new Transit Centre will be able to accommodate up to approximately 50 women and their families, allowing them a safe place to stay when they come to Port Moresby to bring produce to the market to sell. With the installation of water tanks and solar power for hot water and lighting the building has been designed to be sustainable and low cost to run. The outdoor kitchen and laundry facilities ensure the facility is both safe and comfortable as well.
Supporting women to earn a living is so important for the future of communities and for the economy as a whole.
We know it makes good economic sense to invest in women’s livelihoods. When women are able to earn a living, they invest in their families – covering the costs of education for both girls and boys, creating healthier housing, and spending money on good, nutritious food.
Markets, like this one in Koki, also play an important social and cultural role. They offer a place where people can meet each other, where communities to come together to share and to socialise, making for a more vibrant society.
This is why we believe that all markets should be safe for everyone.
We know the Transit Centre will add another layer of safety and security, to support the community to thrive.
We would like to congratulate Minister Tkatchenko, the National Capital District and the Moresby South Market Board on their vision for a safe and prosperous city, and look forward to seeing the ways in which it improves the lives of those who use the market.
Gutpela avinun lo yupela. Tenk yu tru.
[Translation: Good afternoon everybody. Thank you.]