KATE HIGGINS | Townsville Bulletin
PNG PRIME MINISTER Peter O’Neill is expected to pay a visit to Townsville before the end of this month.
A week after the Queensland government announced a new taskforce to drive its relationships with PNG, Mr O'Neill will arrive in Townsville in late June to strengthen ties between the north of the State and the growing Pacific nation.
Chamber of Commerce President Dawson Wilkie said Townsville and Port Moresby had been sister cities for 30 years and that continued trade was vital for both regions.
"Becoming sister cities was about fostering ties and developing business links," he said.
"We've got a few businesses in Townsville that deal in Port Moresby and it's a relationship we're looking to grow and reinforce."
Mr Wilkie said the chamber was planning a visit to Port Moresby in July to scout out trade opportunities.
"The culture over there is that the city is good to do business with and we try to promote the fact that anything Port Moresby needs, we can provide," he said.
"There's a lot of trade in intellectual property and there's a pretty good link with the Cowboys [rugby league team]. We've got the university working on tropical design solutions and we supply a lot of consultancy services as well as the hard physical work."
He said part of the Chamber's July visit would focus on sourcing new PNG products that could be imported into Australia via Townsville and supplied throughout greater Queensland and the country.
The State Government has been working to strengthen ties with PNG, with Premier Campbell Newman last month striking a deal to swap 150 Queensland police with their counterparts across the sea.
Queensland expertise will also help build and operate a hospital in Daru.
Last week, Cairns MP Gavin King, who will head the state's new PNG taskforce, said north Queensland needed to cash in on PNG's multi-billion-dollar resources boom to boost jobs and the economy.