Mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities between Central Queensland and Papua New Guinea were explored during a visit by Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Trade Commerce and Industry, the Hon. Richard Maru OBE MP.

Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP, hosted Minister Maru during a visit to Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Rockhampton.

“There is considerable potential for Australia to build on its already substantial trade and investment relationship with Papua New Guinea, particularly in agriculture and services,” Assistant Minister Pitt said, speaking at the conclusion of the visit.

“Minister Maru’s visit was a great opportunity to showcase what we have to offer.”

Papua New Guinea was Australia’s 19th largest export market and 18th largest import source in 2015. Major Australian exports to PNG include meat, engineering parts, wheat and specialised machinery.

Australia is also a leading player in the delivery of civil and resources infrastructure to Papua New Guinea, drawing on experience across the sector from multiple Australian companies.

While in central Queensland, Mr Pitt introduced Mr Maru to businesses focused on manufacturing, agricultural research, seafood processing, tropical-climate beef and dairy breeding programs, food irradiation, tertiary education and trade services training.

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said it's important that our region explores opportunities for trade and build relationships between governments, business and exporters.

“USC provides high quality degrees and the visit provided the university with an opportunity to showcase their investments in our communities and in our students and highlight its future plans.

“The PNG Government is interested in our innovations in health, agriculture, education and research and the visit, organised by my electorate neighbour Keith Pitt, has renewed interest in all our region has to offer,” he said.

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry MP welcomed the opportunity for Central Queensland to showcase its health education and beef production services to PNG.

"We welcome the PNG Minister to the area to see what we have to offer their country to develop their skills and economy, because it could lead to new trade deals that would benefit local organisations and jobs here in Central Queensland," Ms Landry said.

"Developing stronger economic ties in the Pacific is important and this visit offers CQUniversity a chance to foster stronger partnerships overseas and also represents a great opportunity for Central Queensland beef production technology to be used in other Pacific nations."

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd MP, who himself worked in PNG for some years in his youth and served as Chair on the Joint Standing Committee for Trade & Investment Growth, remarked on the importance of trade with PNG. 

"Relationships with our nearest neighbours are hugely important and the opportunity to assist PNG with developing their agriculture sector excites me.

"There's no question, Minister Maru has pulled the right rein coming to Central Queensland to investigate our beef industry -after all, this is the beef capital of Australia.

"There are clearly exciting opportunities for Australian involvement beyond the resources sector to make meaningful contributions in the developing economy of Papua New Guinea.

"I look forward to seeing Central Queensland capitalise on these," Mr O'Dowd said.

In 2015, Australian investment in Papua New Guinea was $18.4 billion and our two-way trade including services totalled $5.7 billion.

“Australia is committed to enhancing the economic relationship with our nearest neighbour,” Mr Pitt said.

While in Queensland, Mr Maru also met the Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, the Hon. Jane Prentice MP.

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