Participants, 2018 Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue in Cairns, Australia. 6 December 2018
Participants, 2018 Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue. Photo: Paul Dymond
The 2018 Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue was held in Cairns from 4-6 December 2018, bringing together 20 young leaders from both countries. Among the topics they discussed were the strong links between the Far North Queensland city and PNG – a point highlighted during a meeting with the city’s Mayor.

The strong connections between Cairns and Papua New Guinea were on show as members of the Far North Queensland community gathered to recognise the 20 young Papua New Guineans and Australians who were part of this year’s Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue.

The annual program is hosted by the Australia-PNG Network at the Lowy Institute.

It brings together emerging leaders for two days of talks and discussions about issues and ideas, and makes recommendations to the Foreign Ministers of both countries about ways to improve the two countries’ relationships.

This year is the first time the dialogue has been held outside a capital city – and the selection of the Far North Queensland city of Cairns as the venue highlighted the Australian city with the strongest connection to PNG.

Cairns Mayor talks to participants in 2018 Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue. 6 December 2018
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning talks to participants at the 2018 Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue. Photo: Paul Dymond

The city is home to PNG’s largest expatriate population, and the strong people-to-people links are made possible by geography – and good transport connections with daily flights to the PNG capital.

Participants in the Dialogue were able to find out more about local tourism infrastructure and development through meetings and site visits at local facilities, including briefings from the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Cairns Aquarium, and the Mossman Gorge Centre.

Also taking part in the event was Cairns Mayor Bob Manning, who spoke to the group about the links between Cairns and PNG, and potential developments that could strengthen the relationship.

The program concluded with a public reception at the Cairns Hilton where participants were introduced to the Far North Queensland community.

Outcomes from the Dialogue, including recommendations to the Foreign Ministers of both countries, will be published by the Lowy Institute in early 2019.

Reception for the 2018 Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue. Cairns, Australia. 6 December 2018
Reception for the 2018 Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue. Photo: Paul Dymond

For more information about the Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Dialogue, see our information page.

 

 

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Shane McLeod - Aus-PNG Network - Lowy Institute

Shane McLeod

Aus-PNG Network

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Shane McLeod is the Project Director of the Aus-PNG Network at the Lowy Institute, helping to organise events that connect people with an interest in the PNG-Australia relationship. Shane is a former journalist whose long career reporting from the Asia-Pacific region for ABC News included three years as correspondent in Port Moresby.

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