Today in Brisbane I co-chaired, with the Papua New Guinea Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the Hon Rimbink Pato OBE MP, the 26th Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum.

Together with the Ministers for Defence, Home Affairs, International Development and the Pacific, and Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, we agreed with our PNG counterparts to continue close defence cooperation; to build capacity in policing, law and justice; to work together to tackle illegal fishing, transnational crime and people smuggling; and to support PNG's prosperity, regional peace and security.

Ministers also reaffirmed Australia's support for PNG's development priorities.

Later this year, PNG will host APEC 2018. In partnership with PNG, Australia wants to help make this a most successful APEC meeting. In line with APEC's 2018 theme of embracing the digital future, Minister Pato and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Australia's cyber security assistance for APEC Leaders' Week.

We also signed an MoU on the installation of a high speed undersea telecommunications cable between Australia and PNG. Once complete the cable will allow PNG businesses to access new opportunities in the global market and will see substantial economic and development benefits flow to the PNG economy.

Minister Pato and I also signed a joint letter on building an institutional partnership between the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The communiqué from today's Ministerial Forum is available on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

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