Queensland launches new Pacific Trade Strategy


Last week, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick visited Papua New Guinea to launch the Australian state’s new Pacific Trade Strategy. Business Advantage PNG caught up with him for an exclusive chat.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick addressing a business audience in Port Moresby last week. Credit: TIQ

In the words of Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick, Queensland has long been ‘Australia’s Pacific state’: the conduit for much of Australia’s business relationship with Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

Launching the state’s new Pacific Trade Strategy at a business breakfast in Port Moresby last week, Dick said the strategy aims ‘to help drive trade and investment opportunities for Queensland businesses in PNG, as well as support economic and trade opportunities identified by the government and business community in PNG.’

The strategy will also focus on Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

New roles

Under the strategy, a Queensland Trade Commissioner for the Pacific will be appointed and two business development specialist positions created: one in Austrade’s Port Moresby office and the other in Auckland, with a focus on Polynesia.

The strategy will also provide additional funding and support for regional trade events.

‘We play an important role as a state. And we need to be more deeply engaged.’

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‘We want to complement the approach of the Australian Government to ensure we align with the investment priorities of the government here and the business community, and that we also align with the priorities and framework of the national government in Australia,’ Cameron Dick tells Business Advantage PNG.

There is an opportunity, he says, to ‘deepen, broaden and elevate’ existing long-standing connections between PNG and Queensland businesses.

‘Now the COVID-19 pandemic is receding, that’s a great opportunity for us to renew and revive those relationships.’

Message to business

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick.

While many Queensland businesses have been successful in PNG, others are perhaps discouraged by perceptions of PNG as a high cost and riskier place to do business. How does Dick think these perceptions can be challenged?

‘We need to be honest about those risks but we also need to celebrate what we’ve been able to achieve over a very long period of time,’ he says.

‘It’s important that this is a two-way relationship and that the movement of people, goods, capital and investment continues both ways.’

He also wants to promote the message that business activity is now ramping up in PNG.

‘When some of the major resources projects start moving forward – the second LNG project, the new Newcrest gold mine [Wafi-Golpu] – we want to be part of that. We will make sure that Queensland technical skill and ability is plugged into those projects.’

‘At the same time, we want to match and support the ambitions of the PNG government. They’ve got a vision to diversify their economy. So, we want to make sure that the skills that we can provide – whether it be training people, labour force mobility, business investment, direct capital investment – come to the fore.

‘We play an important role as a state. And we need to be more deeply engaged.’

Measuring success

When it comes to measuring the success of the new strategy, Dick feels it should be measured not just in monetary terms.

‘It’s about raising the profile of the relationship, making sure our businesses have an opportunity to trade more vigorously, to invest more deeply, and that we are well regarded and respected by the government and the people of PNG as a trusted partner.’

He also emphasises that he doesn’t see the relationship as a one-way street for Queensland businesses.

‘It’s important this is a two-way relationship and the movement of people, goods, capital and investment continues both ways.

‘We welcome inward investment to Queensland. We welcome the opportunity for the products and goods PNG produces to be exported into our state.’

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