Envoys taken on tour of WA

Vanuatu High Commissioner Kalfau Kaloris, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Malaysian High Commissioner Zainal Ahmad.
Vanuatu High Commissioner Kalfau Kaloris, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Malaysian High Commissioner Zainal Ahmad.

‘WA is open for business, as about 97 per cent of Australia’s iron ore exports and 79 of our natural gas exports come from Western Australia,’ Ms Bishop, the Foreign Minister, said.

The tour, which included the ambassadors of the US, China, Japan, the EU and UK, was the first time a large group of diplomats had been brought to WA.

They flew to the Pilbara to see BHP Billiton, Woodside and Rio Tinto mining operations last Friday.

After Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s China and Japan trade push last month, Ms Bishop said the tour was part of the overall policy of Australia’s economic development, including seeking new sources of investment.

In Perth, the ambassadors visited Kings Park before attending the University of WA In The Zone seminar centred on Australia’s role in Asia-Pacific trade, including a panel discussion on maritime navigation that included former Perth MHR Stephen Smith.

Premier Colin Barnett hosted a lunch at Cottesloe’s Indiana restaurant. The ambassadors were also briefed on opportunities in WA before visiting Fremantle.

Some were interested in the human resources they could provide to Australia.

‘For us, it is how WA can provide work for our semi-skilled workers here, particularly in horticulture and hospitality,’ Vanuatu High Commissioner Kalfau Kaloris said.

He planned talks with the State Government about job training for the people of his Third World Pacific island state.

‘We would love to see a FIFO worker coming from Vanuatu to WA one day,’ he said.

Malaysian High Commissioner Zainal Ahmad saw increased links between his nation and Western Australia.

‘During the briefing we were told about the number of our tourists coming to your beautiful WA, and we see the opportunity for more students studying here after seeing your education facilities,’ he said.