27 May 2011

Australians encouraged to broaden their vision of neighbouring PNG

1:45 pm on 27 May 2011

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs is urging his countrymen to extend their vision of Papua New Guinea beyond the iconic Kokoda Track.

Richard Marles is co-hosting a symposium in Melbourne today bringing together academics, political and business leaders and NGOs to explore dimensions of contemporary PNG society.

Mr Marles says most Australians know little about PNG despite it being the country's nearest neighbour and the largest country in the Pacific.

He says PNG has a booming resources sector, and an economy that's forecast to grow as fast as China's this year.

Mr Marles says it's important the growing wealth is shared widely to make a difference to people's lives, and says Australia's aid programme is contributing to this goal.

Mr Marles says the two countries share a 5 billion dollar trade relationship and have 6 billion dollars invested in each others economies.