I will lead a delegation of six Australian Ministers to Papua New Guinea for the 27th Papua New Guinea-Australia Ministerial Forum, to be held on 26 August. This is the largest delegation of Ministers to visit Papua New Guinea for more than ten years.
The Forum, which I will co-chair with my counterpart, Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Soroi Eoe, will build further momentum in our bilateral relationship following Prime Minister Marape’s visit to Australia in July.
Ministers will progress the Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership to elevate the bilateral relationship and set priorities across areas of security, economic and people-to-people cooperation.
Ministers will also address our shared strategic and security interests, including the Defence Cooperation Program and Police Cooperation Partnership.
Australia is Papua New Guinea’s largest trading and commercial partner, with two-way trade of $6.7 billion and investment of $17 billion in 2018. The Forum will focus on growing our economic partnership and Australia’s support for Papua New Guinea’s development and financing needs.
Minister Eoe and I will also co-chair the annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Dialogue, which is an opportunity for the Australia-PNG Business Council and the Business Council of Papua New Guinea to discuss trade and economic conditions with the two governments.
In Port Moresby, I will launch a new PNG-Australia Secondary School Initiative that links 24 Australian and Papua New Guinean schools. The program will connect students and teachers for learning and education leadership outcomes and deepen our people-to-people links. I will also meet women working in community development to hear about their work on health, education, disability, and entrepreneurship.
Joining me on the Australian delegation will be Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, Assistant Minister for Defence and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon David Coleman MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, and the Hon Mark Coulton MP, Minister for Regional Services and Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment.