Paul-Flanagan1The Director of  PNG Economics is Paul Flanagan.  He wrote his first economic analysis paper on PNG in 1978 following a World Bank report on the economy following independence.  He did this while a clerk in the Overseas Aid Section of the Australian Department of Finance, and prepared the report for his then division head, Bernie Fraser (subsequently Treasury Secretary and Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia).  Paul first visited the country in 1978 as a guest of the local Lions Club –travelling to all major urban centres over a month as well as the remote areas outside of Tari with his Uncle Kevin who was a Catholic priest in the area from 1970 to 1974.  He did his combined economic and political science honour’s thesis in 1983 in Mendi on the “PNG Southern Highlands Integrated Rural Development Project”.  He worked in a range of policy and program roles in Australia’s overseas aid organisation (ADAB, AIDAB and AusAID) from 1986 through to 2002.  These roles included being the first Director responsible for establishing the new aid program to Timor Leste (building the program from $4m to $70m in 6 months); several years in charge of aid programs to Africa and the Middle East (so witnessed many issues around good governance); being lead sectoral advisor on environment, agriculture and physical infrastructure programs; Director of the section in charge of the annual budget (so three years of annual budget processes at Cabinet level), corporate planning and effectiveness review (initiating the program’s first country-level reviews); and acting Branch head for over a year for humanitarian, multilateral and NGO programs (including managing budgets for the area of over $500 million per annum). Rejoining the Australian Treasury in 2002 on promotion , he led the strategic tax policy area (including heading the Secretariat that prepared major public reports on international taxation and helping form the Henry Tax Review). With a further promotion, he headed the International Finance and Development Division from 2008 to 2011 to assist with Australia’s response to the Global Financial Crisis (he was Australia’s Finance Deputy Deputy and attended all major meetings during that time as an advisor to the Treasurer, and the Prime Minister at G20 Leaders Meetings).  He was then seconded to the PNG Treasury as Team Leader and Senior Advisor in the SGP program from February 2011 to August 2013.  He returned to the Australian Treasury as Chief Advisor to the Foreign Investment and Trade Division before retiring in June 2014.  He started at the Development Policy Centre at the ANU in August 2014 as a Visiting Fellow, focusing on PNG public policy issues.  He left the ANU in December 2015 (although still an Associate of their Policy Development Centre) and set up PNG Economics due to concerns. In addition to regular publications on this website, he has worked for several governments, academic institutions,  and representative/community bodies and written for other publications such as the East Asia Forum, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Oxford Analytica and Jubilee Australia on PNG’s economy and public policy settings.


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