The future of our region is tied to the future of APEC. With APEC’s continued efforts on sustainable, inclusive and innovative growth, and a focus on free and open trade, we hope to see everyone in our region reap the rewards.

The Papua New Guinea that the world will see during APEC Leaders Week is a country ready to embrace the future and everything it has to offer. A country defined by its people – friendly and warm; hardworking and ambitious; always ready with a helping hand. Australia is proud to continue to work with Papua New Guinea during this important historical event, and beyond.  We know our future together will be as rich and meaningful as our history.

Australia’s support to PNG’s APEC will benefit regional economic integration and commitment to trade in the region. It will also facilitate stronger partnerships for economic growth, security, and relationships between the people of our region.

In the 1960s young Papua New Guineans training for positions as senior public servants at the Administrative College talked about the future of an independent country. The informal discussion group, known as the ‘Bully Beef Club’, comprised an exceptional group of Papua New Guinea’s future independence leaders, including the first Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Some of the most useful work we do as DFAT officers is not behind our desks – it’s when we’re face-to-face engaging with and learning from our global counterparts. I was reminded of this when I spent the day with a delegation of 55 Papua New Guinean officials who will lead and contribute to PNG’s hosting of APEC in 2018.

Understanding and recognising the uniqueness of our individual differences is what makes our communities and countries strong, inclusive and progressive.