Albanese wants PNG-based team in NRL

Australia's prime minister wants a Pacific Islander team based in Papua New Guinea to compete in the National Rugby League.

Addressing the PNG Parliament on Thursday, Anthony Albanese said the federal government would support programs that deepen understanding and strengthen connections between the two countries.

The prime minister will discuss rugby league in more detail during a meeting with his PNG counterpart James Marape.

"When Prime Minister Marape and I watched the State of Origin together in Suva last year, he said there are only three days your country stops," Mr Albanese said.

"Game one, game two and game three."

Drawing laughter from MPs in the chamber, Mr Albanese said that was something a lot of Australians could relate to.

"And it was great to see so many people getting off the Air Niugini flights in Brisbane to support the talent of the Kumuls and the Orchids in the Prime Minister's XIII matches," he said.

Mr Albanese used the speech to restate his view the NRL should include the Pacific Islander team in future seasons.

"Whether it is rugby league, or cricket with the Barras and the Lewas, or the work being done here by the AFL, sport is such a genuine and powerful way of building strong and lasting ties between our peoples, at a code and club and community and family level."

Mr Marape told MPs that 50 years ago, before PNG's independence from Australia, all PNG citizens were Australians.

He welcomed moves to consolidate the relationship between the two governments, as well as contemporary links between citizens of Australia and PNG.

Mr Marape said an economically independent PNG was a "better, stronger, safer" country, a position which also benefited Australia.

PNG is the largest recipient of Australian aid, worth about $602 million in 2022/23, and receives more than 30 per cent of Australian aid to the Pacific.