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Australia Seeks Foreign Help to Develop Isolated North

Far North Queensland extends 340,000 square kilometers and boasts an extensive coastline.Far North Queensland extends 340,000 square kilometers and boasts an extensive coastline.

Australia is host to diplomats from China, Britain, and dozens of other countries in the economic and services hub of Cairns from Sunday, as part of an effort to drum up investment and broaden the economic base of the sparsely populated region.

Far North Queensland extends 340,000 square kilometers and boasts an extensive coastline, tropical forests, rich agricultural land and mineral resources, CNA reported.

But the isolated region faces a number of critical issues, including attracting investment for infrastructure and high transport costs, which are proving a headache for exporters.

Politicians have ambitious plans to exploit the area’s close proximity to Asian markets and want to diversify its $7.8 billion economy, which is dependent on tourism, mining and agriculture. “This visit will provide foreign representatives with an insight into the diversity and dynamism of Queensland’s economy,” Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.

“This visit will provide foreign representatives with an insight into the diversity and dynamism of Queensland’s economy, so they can better inform their home countries of the many trade and investment opportunities available,” Bishop said.

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt delivered a speech welcoming productive investment from overseas investors interested in further developing the state’s infrastructure and businesses.

The diplomats will also visit the Great Barrier Reef and be informed of the government’s efforts to protect it over the course of the three-day trip.

The reef, which has been hit by back-to-back coral bleaching events, generates an estimated $2 billion for the Australian economy each year.

Australia established a A$5 billion (US$3.69 billion) government loan scheme in 2016 aimed at developing the continent’s north, which stretches across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The vast, resource-rich area accounts for about 40% of the country’s landmass but only 5% of the population.

Much of it is frontierland with little infrastructure, populated by cattle barons, crocodile hunters and aboriginal settlements.

 

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