By Phil Mercer
BBC correspondent in Sydney
Australia is sending police to PNG to help restore stability
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has said his government's multi-million dollar rescue plan for Papua New Guinea has got off to a good start.
Mr Downer was speaking at an annual ministerial meeting in Lae, Papua New Guinea's second city.
Under a scheme to help restore law and order, Australia has begun sending police officers and bureaucrats to its troubled neighbour.
An Australian report warned on Tuesday that PNG was heading towards collapse.
Australia is sending 210 police officers and more than 60 other officials, including finance and customs experts, to Papua New Guinea.
The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has been upbeat about their chances of success in a country beset by deep-seated social and economic problems.
He warned, however, that the enhanced co-operation programme should not be seen as a magic wand. Mr Downer said that everyone involved faced a long, hard journey to make it work.
Australia will spend around $600m over the next five years trying to bring stability back to its former colony, which gained independence in 1975.
Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, said that his country needed help to counter threats by militant groups, people smugglers and gangs involved in the trafficking of drugs and guns.
Sir Rabbie has been infuriated by a report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra.
It stated that Papua New Guinea was facing social and economic ruin and could be overrun by criminals because of weak government and ineffective policing.
The foreign minister told the Post-Courier newspaper that the study was sensationalist and inaccurate and offered nothing constructive or helpful in the debate over his country's future.