5 Feb 2014

Australia's foreign minister heads to PNG to discuss trade and aid

4:43 pm on 5 February 2014

Australia's foreign minister leaves for Papua New Guinea today, vowing to strengthen economic and business ties.

Julie Bishop says a number of items are on the agenda, including PNG's role in combatting people smuggling, its leadership in supporting Fiji's elections and its commitment to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in 2018.

She says she will also meet the prime minister Peter O'Neill aand the immigration and foreign minister, Rimbink Pato.

The Australian foreign ministry says Australia is PNG's largest trading partner and its investment in PNG is worth more than 17 billion US dollars - almost equal to Australia's investment in China.

Ms Bishop will join a discussion about opportunities for women in business and public life and will announce a 2.6 million US-dollar project to provide medical support, shelter and legal support to vulnerable women and children.