Alumna recognised for service in strengthening management of international borders

21 AUGUST 2023

Alumna recognised for service in strengthening management of international borders

A Charles Sturt University graduate making significant contributions to strengthening border management and enforcement in Papua New Guinea and overseas has been recognised as highly commended in Charles Sturt’s Alumni Awards.

Widely recognised as an outstanding leader in the customs profession, Ms Nancy Oraka is making a significant and positive impact strengthening border management and enforcement activities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and internationally.

Nancy’s appointment in 2023 to the highest customs position in the Pacific region – the Oceania Customs Organisation Head of Secretariat – was ground-breaking.

Not only is she the first PNG national – and Melanesian - to hold the position, but she is also the first woman to lead the organisation, a remarkable achievement in a male-dominated profession and a true inspiration to other female Customs officers throughout the Pacific.

Nancy graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2021 with a Graduate Certificate in Customs Administration. She worked as Regional Director Southern Region Operations in the PNG Customs Service and was recognised for demonstrating outstanding leadership qualities.

In 2022, she won a scholarship through the Australian Department of Home Affairs to study the Master of Customs Administration at Charles Sturt.

The University recognised Nancy’s achievements as she was recently named as a highly commended recipient of the Charles Sturt Alumni of the Year award for Professional Development as part of the annual Charles Sturt Foundation Day celebrations.

"It is such a great honour to be considered as the 2023 Charles Sturt Alumni of the Year in the Professional Excellence category and I am so privileged to be highly commended,” she said.

“Thank you so much Charles Sturt, it was an excellent and challenging study journey."

The first female and PNG national to lead the Oceania Customs Organisation in its 24-year history, Nancy was appointed to this position following her master’s education. This appointment has made waves in the industry, with many female officers empowered by her success and inspired to pursue careers in the industry.

Nancy worked previously in the private sector before working in the PNG Public Service for more than 23 years: 12 years with the Internal Revenue Commission and 11 years with PNG Customs Service.

She established herself as a dedicated advocate for tax, customs, border force relations and security. She is currently responsible for supporting 23 Pacific Island countries in aligning with customs international standards, making a significant impact on economic prosperity in the area and modernisation of policy and practice.

She has been influential in improving the future direction of customs administration across the Pacific, including overseeing improved border security, regional reform, and trade facilitation. 

Read more about Charles Sturt’s amazing 2023 Alumni Award winners here.

Media Note:

For more information, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0429 217 026 or

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