Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, today joined Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Vu Van Ninh, and senior officials from the Vietnamese Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Cao Lanh Bridge in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.
The Cao Lanh Bridge is the single largest Australian aid activity on mainland Southeast Asia and is being jointly funded by the governments of Australia and Vietnam, and the ADB.
"Upgrading the Mekong Delta's transport network is central to helping Vietnam sustain economic growth, with limited infrastructure one of the most critical constraints to the country's development," Senator Mason said.
"As our fifth largest ASEAN trading partner, continued economic growth in Vietnam will bring expanded markets for Australian goods, services and investment."
"Support from Australia and other international donors to remove critical transport bottlenecks will not only help realise Mekong Delta's vast agricultural and industrial potential, but lift Vietnam's competitiveness by connecting people with markets across the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond."
"The Cao Lanh Bridge will directly benefit the lives of five million Vietnamese by stimulating private sector investment and local industry, boosting Vietnam's exports, and improving access to social and health services."
Australia is investing $160 million in the design and construction of the Cao Lanh Bridge which will open in 2017 and is expected to be used by 170 000 people every day.
Cao Lanh Bridge is one of three infrastructure projects that make up the broader Central Mekong Delta Connectivity Project, which is comprised of two high cable-stayed bridges with a combined length of 5 kilometres and an additional 25 kilometres of connecting roads.
"Cao Lanh Bridge builds on the legacy of the My Thuan Bridge before it – opened in May 2000, it was the first bridge across the Mekong River in Vietnam and the first cable-stayed bridge built in Vietnam. The Cao Lanh Bridge will be another concrete example of the enterprise and economic cooperation between our countries."
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