REPORTER: Thank you, Ma'am, for your time and for coming to speak with us. This is not your first PNG forum; you have been invited here to speak for a couple of years now?

CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Yes I have and it is very good to be here again. For me, now I have had quite a number of visits to Papua New Guinea  and had the opportunity not just to visit in Port Moresby, but to actually visit out in different areas. What I wanted to highlight in my speech this morning was the nature of enterprise that I have seen for myself in Papua New Guinea. Whether it is the bee keepers up in the Highlands, or whether it is the Wontok Clothing Company or other businesses – Papua New Guinea Fruits and various others – are the business that are doing very, very well. Clearly, we are facing challenging times; there is no doubt about that. What I tried to do this morning was look at the challenging times that both Australia and Papua New Guinea are facing, but also look to the future, the necessary work that needs to be done, even when in difficult times, to ensure that economies progress, and progress into the future. So it is good to be, again, in Papua New Guinea and good to attend this forum, which I think is getting bigger and better every year.     

REPORTER: Thank you, would you be able to talk about PACER Plus and Papua New Guinea's involvement?

CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Well, look, we are very pleased that PACER Plus and the negotiations for PACER Plus have been concluded. The agreement will be signed in Tonga next month. The negotiations were quite long and protracted, but we believe that there will be long-term benefits for Pacific Island countries, particularly in terms of increasing their biodiversity and their ability to comply with biodiversity requirements into countries, particularly into Australia and New Zealand. Of course, that then has positive implications for their exports to other parts of the world. We are looking forward to working with countries of the Pacific that have been signatories to the PACER Plus agreement. Of course, the door is open for the future for Papua New Guinea, and Fiji for that matter, if they do want to join the process. We respect their decisions, but we are looking forward to implementing the PACER Plus agreement.

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