Strengthening economic and business ties with Papua New Guinea will be a key focus of my visit to Port Moresby and Lae on 5 - 6 February.
PNG's important role in the region in combatting people smuggling, its leadership in supporting Fiji's elections and its commitment to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in 2018 will be on the agenda in meetings with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, Immigration and Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and other senior government partners.
The visit will build on the successful Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum held last December, where both countries renewed our shared commitment to an economic and strategic partnership.
Australia is PNG's largest trading partner and Australian investment in the country is worth more than $19 billion - almost equal to Australia's investment in China.
Progress on the Australia-PNG Network, announced at the Ministerial Forum to facilitate links between businesses, entrepreneurs and students in both countries will be discussed.
The Government's assessment of aid investment will be an important point of discussion, to ensure aid projects in PNG align with our priorities for the program.
Building on our commitment to women's empowerment in the Pacific, I will join a roundtable discussion in Port Moresby about opportunities for PNG women in business and public life.
The focus of my keynote address at the Australia-PNG Business Council breakfast will be Australia's strong support for private sector-led growth.
In Lae I will announce A$3 million over three years to fund a Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre with a team of individual case workers to ensure vulnerable women and children receive medical support as well as shelter, legal support and other services.
I look forward to meeting with some of the 50 additional Australian Federal Police officers who have recently been deployed to work alongside the Royal PNG Constabulary and are improving law and order in both Lae and Port Moresby.
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