Australia has agreed to help Papua New Guinea improve its policing as the two close neighbours aim to broaden their relationship to accommodate a "modernising" PNG.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her PNG counterpart Peter O'Neill signed a joint declaration on Friday for a new partnership between the two nations.

The leaders also signed an enhanced defence arrangement that will see annual meetings of defence ministers and provide for closer co-operation.

After her discussions with Mr O'Neill, Ms Gillard said the two had talked about boosting PNG's policing capability in the third phase of the PNG-Australia Policing Partnership.

"It's a model where police would be made available to participate in advisory roles," Ms Gillard told a press conference.

"We will look to broaden that, to recruit former police to work in PNG."

Mr O'Neill said there had been a 10-year gap in police training in PNG, and the scheme would also focus on training police in prosecution and investigation.

In 2005, PNG's Supreme Court turfed out Australian police who had been brought in to walk the beat in the country, ruling their appointment was unconstitutional.

Mr O'Neill said the new program would be different.

The new and existing policing programs will involve 19 Australian Federal Police personnel and four externally recruited officers, at a cost of $56.6 million over four years.

Australia will also help PNG develop an infrastructure body to identify and speed up construction of major projects.

The two countries agreed to work towards signing an economic co-operation treaty later this year.

The Australian immigration detention centre on Manus Island rated only a brief mention, with Ms Gillard thanking Mr O'Neill for PNG's assistance in setting up the controversial temporary facility at Lombrum Naval base.

"I am pleased that Prime Minister Gillard is working with us to start construction this year, at a later date this year," Mr O'Neill said.

The Australian government expects to start work on the permanent facility in July.

Friday was hectic for Ms Gillard, kicking off with a speech to the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce where she announced a new initiative to improve women's welfare and safety at work.

After that it was off to Gerehu, a suburb of Port Moresby, to meet PNG's colourful locals at the markets.

Ms Gillard bought bananas and sago, a cooking staple in PNG, before heading to parliament to meet Mr O'Neill.

PNG's parliament was awash with colour and movement as traditional dancers from some of PNG's 850 cultures, including Asaro Mudmen, Huli Wigmen and Motuan peoples - put on a "sing sing" for the Australian leader.

Later, at a girl's school on the outskirts of Port Moresby, Ms Gillard encouraged about 600 students to become leaders in modern PNG.

Ms Gillard also took a close look at what a modernising PNG will look like when she visited part of PNG's $19 billion liquefied natural gas processing site.

 

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