FYI: PNGans in Australia
Prior to PNG’s independence from Australia in 1975, Papua New Guineans were awarded equal citizenship rights within Australia and Australian citizens were free to travel to and live and work in PNG, as PNG was formally part of Australia. Upon implementation of the Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, indigenous Papua New Guineans were no longer permitted to hold dual citizenship for both PNG and Australia, and under the PNG Independence Act of 1975 they were awarded citizenship of the new Independent State of PNG regardless of their place of residency. Whilst many Papua New Guineans were no longer considered Australian citizens or permanent residents, some ethnic Papuan New Guineans were. Papua New Guineans who held titles to ancestral lands had to retain their PNG citizenship and, in some cases, it was mandatory for those that were residing in Australia to return to PNG to retain land ownership through participating in their local traditions and customs.
According to the 2006 Australian Census there were approximately 24,000 Papua New Guinean individuals residing in Australia, of which 12,590 lived in Queensland. In 2006, within Queensland, half of the Papua New Guinean population lived in Brisbane (6703 people), 1426 people in Cairns and 971 people on the Gold Coast. The PNG community makes up the largest Pacific Island group in Cairns, Queensland. Australian Census data on PNG-born people may not be representative of the actual ethnic PNG population due to the high percentage of people who are children of Australians who were residing and working in PNG prior to PNG independence.