Cairns in bid to become ‘supply hub’ for PNG LNG project

National, Normal

A special report for possible business links between Cairns and Port Moresby has been presented to senior Australian bureaucrats and government leaders in Brisbane and Canberra.
This is spurred on by the proposed multi-billion kina PNG LNG gas project opening up lots of business opportunities in which Cairns could become the brand name as the “supply hub” – in the same way as Darwin is to the Timor Sea gas projects.
Cairns business leaders are looking to PNG as the new frontier and produced a report called: Relief, recovery and reform plan presented to high-ranking government leaders in Brisbane and also in Canberra.
The Cairns Post newspaper reported on Monday three industry organisations had come together to push the “new deal” to broaden the Cairns economy.
They are Advance Cairns, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.
They are calling on the Australian federal government and Queensland  state government to work with them to help better identify and define the opportunities in PNG.
Advance Cairns chairman Russell Beer said the chamber and his organisation were already working on developing business opportunities, including two separate trade missions.
“More resources are needed to fund an urgent and holistic study into opportunities for Cairns region businesses to sell goods and services into PNG to take advantage of the significant developments in that country’s resources sector,” he said.
“We aim to develop the Cairns brand in PNG so that Cairns is the automatic choice for a base for Australian engagement with PNG, the same way Darwin seems automatically to be seen as the Australian access point for business with Timor Leste.
“(We need) better engagement with our closest capital city, Port Moresby, and neighbouring country PNG to allow our businesses to take advantage of the major projects to take off there.”
Mr Beer said the trade missions were the first in seven years and the slots filled quickly.
A team headed by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce is expected to visit Port Moresby this month to talk to business leaders and explore possibilities of setting up a direct shipping link between the two cities.