Lae Chamber of Commerce
The inaugural meeting to discuss the formation of a Chambers of Commerce in Lae was held on Thursday 29th January 1959 with the first meeting of the New Guinea Chamber of Commerce being held on the 19th February 1959. The then Chamber Executives resolved to change the Chambers name from the New Guinea Chamber of Commerce to the Lae Chamber of Commerce the 7th May, 1959.
Minutes of all Lae Chamber of Commerce meetings since 1959 are on record at the Chambers Office. Listed are some of the main achievements of the Chambers and it will surprise nobody that many of the main items of discussion from the outset of the chambers, have not really changed much.
It is a fact that the Lae Chamber of Commerce was the first to be active after the events of WWII turned the business world upside down. The LCCI has been operating continuously since 1959.
Major achievements in recent times have been:
Law & Order
- The LCCI was instrumental in establishing the MOROBE PROVINCIAL LAW & ORDER COMMITTEE in 1991 which became an effective instrument to get all stakeholders involved in battling the problematic Law & Order issue. The Provincial Law & Order Committee recently continued to meet spasmodically.
- In May 2014 the Lae Business Community established the Lae Community Safety Network (LCSN), which is formed of many Industry leaders in Lae City who wish to make Lae a safer place. The LCSN aims at assisting the Police to be better resourced and equipped to deal with crime and the negative effect that the increase in crime has on good business and investment promotion. A Facebook page has been commenced under the Lae Community Safety Network and membership is closed but can be approved by linking into the site.
- The LCCI continues to have good communication with the Police and still allocates funds to provide assistance to the Police when necessary and always helps with funding for urgent or appropriate demands.
Roads – Lae Roads
- In 1991 the Lae Roads started to show early signs of collapse and by 2008 many were nearly impossible to navigate.
- The LCCI had been influential in securing funds from the Australian Government under AusAID to fix the Industrial Roads. In 1997 an AUD 43.5 Million project was secured which saw Barclays re-construct the Lae Industrial Roads to a very high standard. Subsequently however there was very little spent on all Lae Roads which saw all these reconstructed roads under real stress again by 2014.
- In 2008 the National Government made K50 million available for 4 major Lae Roads A further K100 million was made available in 2011 which has seen 11 contracted sections of Lae major Lae roads reconstructed mainly in concrete.
- In 2013/4 a further K150 million was made available to reconstruct 7 more of the major Lae Roads, including some of the former AusAID funded roads. Most of these roads have again been done in concrete.
- The PNG Government have earmarked K20 million further in 2015 for the Lae Roads upgrades, and this will be directed to Milfordhaven Road, which is the last of the major Lae Roads to be reconstructed.
- Lae Chamber of Commerce is been part of the steering committee for these roads, with a major input. Without the constant pressure the LCCI put on contractors to keep information on the road works available to road users, there would have been major disruption to the traffic flow.
Roads – Lae Nadzab Highway
In May 2013 the National Government declared that the 1st stage of the Okuk (Highlands) Highway re-development would be made, with the construction of a 4 lane Highway from Lae to Nadzab.
Funding came for this project partly from the PNG Government and partly by a soft loan from the Chinese Governments Exim Bank.
China Railway International Limited the successful contractor, signed up in June 2014 and work commenced shortly thereafter. Stage 1 which is the section between the Boundary Road junction to the Wau/Bulolo turnoff at the time of writing this is half completed. Section 2 from this junction to Nadzab will then be commenced.
The LCCI is again a very outspoken member of the steering committee for this road.
Other Projects embarked on by the LCCI over the years have been:
- Health – the LCCI made significant contributions to bring attention to the need to redevelop Angau Memorial Hospital. We are delighted that a new modern hospital will be commence shortly as a Joint Venture between the PNG and the Australian Governments.
- Education – the LCCI in its bid to raise the level of Technical Training in Lae have been a major contributor to making Lae a Centre of Technical Training Excellency. We are committed to better utilizing the Technical Training institutions in Lae – the National Polytechnic College (formerly Lae Tech), the University of Technology and the Vocational Schools. The aim is to get Training Institutions to interact more with the Companies, so that professional and trades employees are trained with appropriate skills for our industries.
We are fighting for a better organized apprentice system that will be more useable for Lae Industries. In association with Australian Aid, the APTC (Australian Pacific Training College) commenced a Training facility at the Polytechnic College in 2015, with the first course in welding.