This was the remark from Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, during the Consulate-General’s official opening yesterday.
“Lae is Papua New Guinea’s second largest commercial centre and a gateway to the dynamic economies of Asia and the Pacific,” stated Minister Bishop.
“It will assist the Australian Government in building even stronger links with the many Australian businesses operating in this growing part of Papua New Guinea, including in mining, agriculture, manufacturing and retail.
“This new post will enable us to better support our development partnership with Papua New Guinea and to provide consular and passport services to Australians living and working in Lae and the surrounding region.”
The Minister further said the Consulate-General will also support Australia's enduring defence and police partnerships in Lae.
“The establishment of the Lae Consulate-General continues the single largest expansion of Australia’s diplomatic network in 40 years, with 9 additional posts announced since 2013.”
Minister Bishop was in Papua New Guinea from 7 to 9 March. She was here to co-chair the 25th Australia–Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum in Madang, together with Papua New Guinea's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Rimbink Pato.
(PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum. Image courtesy of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs)