The National, Thursday 16th May 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
PAPUA New Guinea and Queensland have signed a deal in Port Moresby on Tuesday to grow business links and opportunities between them.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman signed the agreement at the Grand Papua Hotel.
Newman arrived in the country on Tuesday with a business delegation, seeking to strengthen links in agribusiness, resources, construction, infrastructure and education.
He said: “Papua New Guinea is Queensland’s closest neighbour and its closest trading partner in the Pacific.
“We share a long standing cultural connection and over the years this friendship has developed into an enduring and highly productive business relationship.
“This relationship was first formalised in 1992 with the signing of the PNG and Queensland memorandum of understanding on Business Corporation.
“We have reached many milestones and now, in its 21st year we have renewed this agreement”.
Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POMCCI) chief executive officer David Conn said: “We already have solid links with Far North Queensland (Cairns and Townsville) but this widens the levels of cooperation between Queensland and PNG businesses.
“The premier has stated their priorities and they are very similar to ours – they want to focus on infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and transport.
“They have experience in the ‘smart state’ especially in agribusiness and we need to work together with them on these areas.
Conn said: “Queensland has been a hub for regional tourism and surely we can tap into that expertise and hopefully some of the experienced investors they have.”
In light of consecutive trade missions to the country in the past few months, Conn addded: “This is a great sign of confidence in PNG. Our economy needs to diversify and with all these suitors we can now select from a diverse menu.
“This will be good for PNG especially the SME sector which we need to build to make our economy a full and sustainable economy.”