Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Papua New Guinea

Key facts:

POPULATION (2020 estimate): 8,969,000
AREA: 462,840 sq km
CAPITAL: Port Moresby
HEAD OF STATE: HM Queen Elizabeth II
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT: Prime Minister James Marape
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: constitutional monarchy
LANGUAGES: English, TokPisin, HiriMotu (official)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: 2017, turnout: na; next: 2022
LOCAL ELECTIONS: last: June 2019, turnout: na; next: 2024
LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE as percentage of total government expenditure 2019: 1.4%


Papua New Guinea is a federal constitutional monarchy with three spheres of government: national, provincial and local. Local government is enshrined in the constitution. No women were elected to parliament during the 2017 national election and in 2013 1.4% of councillors elected were women. There are 22 provinces, the national capital area of Port Moresby, the autonomous region of Bougainville and 89 districts. Local governments are called local-level governments (LLGs). There are 31 urban LLGs and 265 rural LLGs, making a total of 296 local governments. There is little difference in either the composition or the functions and responsibilities of the two types of government. The main governing legislation is the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local-level Governments 1995 and the Local-level Governments Administration Act 1997. The Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs (DPLGA) within the Ministry of Inter-Government Relations has statutory responsibility for all matters relating to local government. Local governments may levy a variety of local taxes and charges. There are government transfers to cover staff salaries as well as for specific development projects. In 2019, local government expenditure was approximately 1.4% of total government expenditure. LLGs are responsible for water supply and have joint responsibility with provinces for roads, waste disposal, health and environmental protection, economic promotion and tourism.

Read profile of local government system in Papua New Guinea.

CLGF activities in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has been an active partner for  CLGF's work in the Pacific including hosting the Pacific Local Government Forum in 2014 in the capital, Port Moresby.

FLOW Programme – Bougainville (2012-2015)
The Pacific Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) Programme was a four-year multi-partner initiative funded by the Government of the Netherlands. It aimed at increasing women’s representation in civil and political leadership across three Pacific Island countries, including Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, in order to drive gender equality. 
CLGF’s programme under FLOW included:

  • Providing sustained support to individual councils to incorporate gender into their policies, programs and service delivery; the two local governments targeted in PNG were Buka and Arawa Urban Councils.
  • Strengthening the leadership capacity of women elected to and working within the local government sector through training, networking and mentoring opportunities;
  • Strengthening partnerships between local governments and civil society organisations (CSOs) to support gender equality, strengthen local democratic participation and encourage community attitude change.

PNG Good Practice Scheme (2000 – 2011)
The PNG Good Practice Scheme, a technical twinning program between Australian and PNG local government, ocused on improving capacity to deliver key services. In total, there were seven formal partnerships established between the two countries as part of the programme. The scheme used successful mechanisms of council to council, peer to peer, technical support and on-the-job training to help build local capacity and skills. The scheme had two phases and supported capacity building in Urban Local Level Governments in PNG with particular emphasis on their role in meeting the (then) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

CLGF members in Papua New Guinea

  • Department of Provincial and Local level Government Affairs (DPLLGA)
  • National Capital District Commission (NCDC)

Knowledge hub

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Pacific regional office

Regional office

Contact the CLGF Pacific office.



Board Members for the Pacific region

Board Members

Mayor Lawrence Yule
Mayor Troy Pickard
Hon Atarake Nataara



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