Lae, Papua New Guinea

About Lae

Lae, the capital of Morobe is home to a diverse range of people, indigenous cultures and has a lush green environment due to its five metres per annum rainfall. The Huon Gulf curves majestically around its shores making Lae a picturesque seaside setting against the tough and rugged terrain which hugs the coast.

A town from the gold rush era, Lae is the gateway to the Highlands and the islands with its central location near the Huon Gulf. With the influx of many migrants from Highlands and Madang regions, the town has grown to become the industrial capital of Papua New Guinea.

Connected to the Highlands by the Okuk Highway (PNG's longest road link), Lae is a vitally important part of the country's business and agricultural sectors. Lae boasts good harbour facilities, a broad industrial base and other major assets. Lae has many historical memorials including that of 1930s American aviator, Amelia Earhart, who was last seen flying out of Lae airport on her way back to the USA, before her plane disappeared.  World War II relics are preserved in many sites as a memory of the occupation by the Japanese. The most important of all being the treasured War Memorial to servicemen and women.

There have been visits to Lae by Council personnel and members of the Sister Cities sub-committee.  Cairns hosted a delegation of women from Morobe Provincial Council who gained knowledge on issues such as women's shelters, drug abuse and rehabilitation programs, care of the aged, child abuse and family planning.

The Lae City Authority also furthered their knowledge by its personnel attending work experience in Cairns Regional Council's departments of Town Planning, Building, Engineering, Health, Parks and Gardens. Educational facilities, such as TAFE, also afforded hospitality.


Papua New Guinea is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and is 160 kilometres north of Australia. The western half of the island is Irian Jaya, a province of Indonesia. It comprises both the mainland and some 600 offshore islands and has a total land area of 462,800 square kilometres.


The population of Lae is approximately 100,000 (2012).


PNG has a moderate tropical climate with high levels of seasonal rainfall. In the highlands, temperatures can range from a low of four degrees Celsius to a high of 32 degrees Celsius. The lowland, coastal and island areas have an average daily temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.

Local time

The local time of Lae is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +10 which is the same as Cairns.

Sister City agreement

The agreement with Lae was signed on 22 June 1984.

The proclamation reads

'The City of Lae, Papua New Guinea and the City of Cairns, Queensland, Australia, hereby declare their affiliation as Sister Municipalities.   The citizens of both Municipalities will endeavour to establish goodwill, trust and understanding and promote reciprocal exchanges for our mutual prosperity.  It is our firm belief that this affiliation between Lae and Cairns will contribute to strengthening the friendship between Papua New Guinea and Australia.  We also believe that it will be mutually beneficial in the areas of trade and tourism between the two countries.  To affirm this Sister Municipality relationship, the Lord Mayor of Lae and the Mayor of Cairns, on behalf of both Municipalities, affix their signatures to this declaration.  The agreement was signed 1984.'

Sister City activities for Cairns-Lae

  • 2018   Tradelinked Cairns & PNG and Council host a delegation from Lae, led by the Hon John Rosso, Member for Lae, and the Hon Ginson Saonu, Governor of Morobe, involving a Mayoral civic lunch and a tour of Council’s waste facilities.
  • 2017    Cairns Sister Cities Ambassador Sim Hayward visits Lae City Council and the Lae Botanic Gardens in October.
  • 2017   “Doing Business with Lae” information session held at Council in March, with presenters including the Consul General for Lae, Mr Paul Murphy, and Cairns Sister Cities Ambassador Sim Hayward.
  • 2013   Lae City Manager, Mr Roy Kamen, attends National Sister City Day celebration in Cairns
  • 2013   A group of 30 students and 5 teachers from Lae visit Cairns
  • 2013   A delegation led by Deputy Mayor Philip Maiven visits Cairns in a reciprocal visit to reaffirm the Sister City relationship
  • 2013   Cairns Mayor Bob Manning and Lae Mayor James Khay reaffirm the Sister Cities agreement during visit to Lae
  • 2013   Cairns Mayor Bob Manning visits Lae and signs Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work together to improve municipal infrastructure and the provision of municipal services in both cities
  • 2009   Mrs Lone White, Cairns Regional Council Sister Cities Advisory Committee member visit to Zumin Pottery Exhibition Zumin Potter Exhibition 2009
  • 2009   Lae participated in the Cairns "Face of a Sister City" photographic exhibition
  • 2008   Lae participated in "Earth Links" Ceramics Exhibition

More information

Last updated: 16 June 2020