Senate debates

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Questions without Notice

Papua New Guinea: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

2:36 pm

Photo of Marise PayneMarise Payne (NSW, Liberal Party, Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator McGrath for his question. APEC is the pre-eminent regional forum for promoting closer economic integration, free trade and investment, and sustainable and inclusive growth. In fact, APEC accounts for almost half of global trade, 60 per cent of global GDP and 12 of Australia's top-15 trading partners. This year's meeting will be held in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, Australia's closest neighbour, starting this week, and we're very pleased to work with Papua New Guinea's government as it hosts this very important regional event.

It's true to say that hosting APEC is an enormous undertaking. It is over 200 meetings and other events across a year, which culminates in the gathering of leaders and ministers. But Australia and Papua New Guinea, in particular, have a long-term and enduring strategic and economic partnership, and our support demonstrates the importance that we place on that relationship. At Papua New Guinea's requests, we are leading international security support at APEC. We have the Australian Federal Police working closely with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. The ADF is providing high-end operational support across maritime, aviation and counterterrorism domains, which builds on our close defence partnership. I want to acknowledge those members of the ADF and the AFP who are carrying out this work. The Department of Home Affairs is also providing key equipment like air cargo X-ray scanners and passport scanners.

We've provided policy support for APEC through DFAT, through our high commission in Port Moresby, and our assistance to APEC is really an extension of our long-term and enduring defence cooperation and partnership with PNG, as I've mentioned. Wherever possible, we've been looking to ensure that our support is designed to provide an enduring benefit to Papua New Guinea beyond APEC, and I, for one, am very much looking forward to a very successful APEC period.


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