Australia seeks greater private sector role in Pacific

The Australian government's push to rejuvenate relations with Pacific island nations has key role for the private sector.

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Duncan Kerr, told the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum in Cairns, the private sector has a vital role to play.

Radio Australia's reporter Jemima Garrett says Mr Kerr told the forum the new Pacific Partnerships for Development are a central part of the Rudd government's push to strengthen and deepen relations with the Pacific and, that if those partnerships are to achieve the millennium development goals, business has an important role to play.

"Business is absolutely essential. We need their input. No country has evolved a successful strategy dealing with poverty without a strong and vibrant private sector."

Mr Kerr said PNG and Samoa are the first Pacific island countries to negotiate their Pacific partnerships.

He hopes to have a completed agreement with PNG or a framework agreement signed before the Pacific forum in August.

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