PORT MORESBY was the setting for a major cocktail event last week when Gadens Lawyers pulled together a network of local political and business dignitaries to celebrate the firm’s 35th year in Papua New Guinea.
The Ministers for Finance and Mining, Bart Philemon and Sam Akoitai attended the event, as did representatives from the spectrum of multinational firms and international agencies operating in PNG.
The Gadens PNG office has had considerable dealings with the Sydney office, the firm’s involvement there having been spearheaded by national chairman and corporate finance partner Ian Clarke, who served as resident senior partner in the Port Moresby office from 1989 to 1992.
The recently announced ‘Enhanced Cooperation Program’ between Australia and PNG, as well as what Clarke describes as positive news concerning the Australia PNG gas pipeline, have heightened awareness and economic interest in the region. This will have “exciting ramifications for the communities and business sector within PNG”, said Clarke.
Clarke himself also maintains an interest in the evolution of that office, and is now the immediate past president of the Australia PNG Business Council, where he served for three years. He recently addressed these issues in a paper entitled Legal and Strategic Frameworks for Developing PNG.
Gadens remains committed to the PNG office, the firm said in a statement, “not least because many senior Gadens partners have lived, worked and raised families in PNG and remain passionately interested in PNG’s progress”.
As well, the firm has been instrumental in formulating the country’s financial services legislation and was a pivotal player in a re-write of all banking, super and life sector legislation, including the Central Banking Act in PNG.
The firm was also involved in the exit of BHP from OK Tedi, and the privatisation of the Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation. The office employs 29 staff, including 15 lawyers practising principally in major resource projects, finance and commercial litigation. Its lawyers also act for a range of private and public sector clients both in PNG and internationally.