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Business envoy November 2021

Global Insights: Dispatches from our Pacific Heads of Missions

Flag of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

The land of opportunity and the unexpected

Jon Philp High Commissioner

PNG is the land of opportunity, as well as the unexpected. The country is rich in untapped natural resources and potential human capital. Travelling around PNG and marvelling at its stunning beauty, you cannot help but wonder about the huge opportunities in tourism, agribusiness, and hospitality. PNG's links to the powerhouse economies of Asia are growing, as are its connections to businesses, research institutions, and capital in Australia and New Zealand.


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Australian trade with PNG was worth $6,309 billion in 2020 and some 4,500 Australian businesses now supply their goods and services to the PNG market. However, what makes our trading relationship unique is that PNG has a trade surplus. Australia imports more from PNG than Australia exports to PNG.

Australian companies play a large role in transferring technological know-how and equipment. Traditionally, this innovation was based in the mining sector, but we now see new technologies being rolled-out across other industries.  

Australian company Pronto Software has been doing business in PNG for over 30 years.

Today Pronto has more than 50 Customers in PNG including Nambawan Super, WaterPNG and PostPNG. One of our innovations is a technology that allows customers to transfer money to their family in the village safely via the Post Office.

Steve Hillyard,

General Manager, Pronto

Australian expertise is in demand to co-deliver with PNG companies. CEQ is an electrical and engineering business specialising in the delivery of complex projects. Partnering with PNG companies, it delivered services to APEC Haus and is currently working on the Lombrum Naval base on Manus.

CEQ sees PNG as a significantly important market and an evolutionary step in the company's history. The PNG market affords CEQ the opportunity to showcase the company's skills on a wider scale while imparting the knowledge gained in the Australian market to the national workforce.

Paul Bertinato,

Operations Manager, CEQ

In PNG, history and personal relationships matter for business. Successful businesses combine savvy market principles with strong in-country relationships, through alliances with local businesses, or through formal channels such as the Australia-PNG Business Council, the Australian High Commission, Austrade and industry conferences. Across the Pacific, and in PNG, there is a preference for goods and services provided by Australian companies, based on Australia's reputation for delivering quality.

Without doubt, there are challenges in the business environment. For those willing to invest in PNG, however, there are substantial rewards on offer.

Supporting better coffee production in PNG

In Papua New Guinea, the coffee sector has seen several major transitions over the years, from a largely plantation-based effort to more smallholder-centric, commodity grade production. In a bid to improve global competitiveness, exporters in PNG are increasingly turning from commodity grade to specialty and high-grade coffee, as the market for high-grade coffee has been consistently growing in Australia, Europe, and the United States. Consumers are demanding responsibly sourced coffee, and in practical terms this has meant that exporters need to invest heavily in PNG's smallholder supply chains.

The Market Development Facility (MDF), funded by the Australian Government, is a private sector development program focusing on inclusive growth and sustainable employment generation. In PNG, MDF supports exporters to increase their supply of certified coffee, working with the exporters to identify champions in their supply chains and develop clusters of responsibly sourced coffee producers. There are also opportunities to recognise the role of women in the coffee market system, as they are involved at almost every stage of the production and marketing chain.

MDF is working with many of the largest exporters in PNG including New Guinea Highland Coffee Exports (NGHCE), PNG Coffee Exports (PNGCE) and Morobe Mountain Coffee Export Ltd. The exporters are training smallholder farmers on certification requirements and good farm management practices, to support a gradual transition to better quality, sustainably produced coffee. Better quality coffee enables greater premiums for both farmer and exporter. According to NGHCE General Manager Joeri Kalwij:

Papua New Guinea coffee is one of the best – however, there is inconsistency in the supply of quality coffee, due to a number of factors. One main issue is the lack of farmer appreciation that commercially viable, high-quality coffee requires consistency in [coffee] cherry selection and processing. Farmers can benefit from higher prices if they are consistent in their production practices and supply. We want this training to help coffee growers understand the quality requirements and encourage improved practices.

For women working in coffee farming, the training has been useful in honing farming skills that were previously applied in a more ad-hoc manner. As Catherine from Menyama in Morobe Province says,

We'd never had coffee training like this before. Some of the things we learnt were new, so we are very interested to continue working together with the extension officers to improve our skills. I feel that this is good, and we will benefit more from it.

In 2020, a total 2,980 farming households were certified and sold high grade coffee to MDF's partners. Sales generated USD342,505 (AUD447,219) in additional income for the households. Despite the inevitable threats of the continuing pandemic and unpredictable extreme weather events, MDF's business partners are optimistic and plan to source certified coffee from around 4,000 additional farmers over 2021.


Papua New Guinea coffee farmer



Resilient and agile

John Feakes High Commissioner

Businesses in Fiji have displayed resilience and agility throughout the pandemic, working with the Fijian Government to ensure open supply chains and the delivery of important services.  I'm proud that Australian businesses are playing their part in supporting Fiji's COVID-19 response and recovery, including delivering health solutions and facilitating remittances from family and friends abroad.

Beyond the COVID-19 response, Australian companies are making important contributions in almost every sector.  Our proximity as well as our diverse supply chains make Australian businesses trusted suppliers of goods and services to Fiji.  More than 3,200 Australian companies exported to Fiji in 2018-19 with a total export value of $467 million.  While total trade fell in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, we expect trade flows will strengthen in 2022.

We anticipate Fiji's economy will soon rebound, as tourists return, and business operations normalise.  In this context, there are opportunities for Australian businesses, particularly in the infrastructure, health, and food and beverage sectors.

Australian companies are strong competitors in infrastructure and construction. We have recently seen tourism infrastructure projects launched in anticipation of Fiji's tourism rebound, with some significant contracts awarded to Australian businesses. For example, Australian company GCMarine was recently awarded a $8.9 million contract to build a 134-berth marina as part of a major development on Nawi Island in Savusavu.

Australian businesses are also playing an important role in supporting the Fijian Government to deliver health infrastructure and services.  For example, Aspen Medical has partnered with the Fijian Government to develop, finance, upgrade, operate and maintain two hospitals.  We anticipate a sustained high demand for innovative health services, including digital health services, in coming years.  Australian businesses are well placed to take advantage of these opportunities.

Australian food and beverages are mainstays in Fijian supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels.  While demand for imported food fell in 2020-21 due to the decline in tourist arrivals, we anticipate a significant uptick in demand for premium Australian food and beverage exports in coming months as resorts reopen to international tourism.  We encourage exporters to position themselves to support the increased demand.

Fiji is increasingly regarded as a hub for ICT and back-office processing services. Australian and other global businesses have invested in call centres, data processing, software development and IT centres in Fiji.  Reliable telecommunications, customer service capabilities and the establishment of free trade zones make Fiji an attractive option for outsourcing services.

My team and I are always looking for ways to better support Australian businesses to trade and invest in Fiji.  I encourage Australian businesses considering opportunities in Fiji to contact our Austrade team at

Positioning Fiji as the Outsourcing Hub of the Pacific

While the pandemic took a heavy toll on Fiji's tourism economy, it presented unexpected opportunities for the country's emerging Outsourcing Services (OS) industry. Australia's Market Development Facility (MDF), a private sector development program focusing on sustainable job creation and inclusive growth, has been supporting Fiji's Business Process Outsourcing industry since 2019. Fiji's OS sector is estimated to be worth USD50 million (AUD65 million) annually (2 per cent of GDP) and employs approximately 5,000 people. In 2020, as traditional Asian OS destinations experienced hard lockdowns that caused service disruptions for their Australian clients, large firms started to seek more geographically diversified solutions. Fiji is well placed to take advantage of this, particularly from clients in Australia and New Zealand.

Yet Fiji remains relatively unknown as an OS destination. Business is usually generated by word of mouth and through the Fijian diaspora. Those firms that do work with Fijian OS providers however, quickly become loyal customers. Clients point to Fiji's familiarity, proximity, reliability, favourable time zone, neutral accent, well-educated labour pool, internet connectivity and infrastructure. While Fiji's costs are marginally higher than its main competitors (India and the Philippines), clients report that this is more than offset by Fiji's impressive call conversion and customer satisfaction levels. According to DHL Fiji Business Services Manager, Kavish Prasad, the DHL Fiji office call conversion rate is above 95 per cent, with customer satisfaction rated the highest among the Pacific teams within DHL Global Forwarding.

Marketing this potential is important. MDF is supporting the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) Council of Fiji to increase awareness among the Australian and New Zealand markets with targeted marketing campaigns informed by an in-depth market demand study. This seems to be paying dividends. In 2020, council membership doubled as Fijian firms recognised the benefits of industry wide marketing. MDF partners Greymouse Investments Limited, BTR Fiji Limited and Pacific Centrecom Fiji Ltd have all seen an almost 100 per cent increase in client queries in 2021. The general feedback from clients is that they are looking to either start outsourcing or spread their risk from existing markets.

Australia's support includes a partnership between the MDF and major Fijian developer Lyndhurst Pte Ltd to support the marketing of Fiji's first Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Business Park for OS providers. The partnership also works with Investment Fiji, which is actively targeting OS as a source of new investment. The industry's advocacy has recently resulted in the announcement of  a series of government incentives including tax holidays for OS investments in projects such as ICT parks and customs exemptions for OS material and equipment.

MDF is exploring the feasibility of further expansion of its BPO support in the Pacific, including Samoa, where outsourcing services could provide valuable opportunities for economic diversification and employment.


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Flag of New Zealand

New Zealand

Building on a gold standard FTA with Australia

The Hon Patricia Forsythe AM High Commissioner  

Signed in 1983, the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER) was celebrated by the WTO as one of the world's most comprehensive, effective, and multilaterally compatible free trade agreements. Almost 40 years on, Australia and New Zealand's trade arrangement sets the gold standard for FTAs globally.

Building on the success of the CER, the Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda was launched in 2004. It works to promote a seamless trans-Tasman business environment that is agile and responsive to today's economic challenges and opportunities. The SEM has provided a framework to harness innovations from our respective COVID-19 responses and explore solutions to common challenges like supply chain disruptions.

Our deep economic integration unlocks opportunities to collaborate across a wide range of areas to our mutual benefit, from Indigenous business collaboration to harnessing technology and innovation.

Building on our bilateral Indigenous Collaboration Arrangement, signed in 2020, Australia has been able to share our experience in developing a world class Indigenous Procurement Policy and is learning from the success of Māori businesses thriving in global markets.

As New Zealand moves ahead on its Just Transition journey to decarbonise, Australian has the expertise and experience to provide low emissions technology-based solutions for hard to abate sectors such as energy and agriculture. Reflecting our commitment to innovation-led solutions, in 2021 the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council was established to promote and help scale home-grown ANZAC solutions, driving more sustainable agricultural practices.

Beyond our own borders, Australia and New Zealand stand together as advocates for the rules that promote open global trade, and underpin both our economic prosperity, and that of our broader Pacific neighbourhood.


Flag of Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands

Greater connectivity and market access a basis for better investment and business links

Dr Lachlan Strahan High Commissioner 

The trade relationship between Australia and Solomon Islands is relatively modest when compared to the broad scope of our political, development and security relationships, and our people-to-people links. However, recent Australian initiatives to support connectivity and market access, combined with PACER Plus, provide a basis for greater investment and business links.

After eleven years in the planning, construction has commenced on the $320 million Tina River Hydropower Project. Australia has contributed almost $30 million to the preparatory phase of the project, including construction of a major access road, and will provide an additional $30 million in financing for the transmission system through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). Once complete, the Tina River project will meet around 70 per cent of Honiara's electricity needs. Reductions in electricity costs will support local households and businesses, enabling electricity-intense sectors like manufacturing to grow.

The Coral Sea Cable (CS2) is already transforming Solomon Islands' digital landscape providing faster, cheaper, and more reliable internet services. CS2 has helped to reduce retail internet costs by as much as 90 per cent and spurred 100 per cent growth in internet usage in the last year. More and more local businesses are selling their goods and services online and considering options for cross-border e-commerce.

Our cooperation on CS2 is complemented by Australia's new $250 million Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP). In addition to financing new infrastructure, SIIP will support the Solomon Islands Government to improve infrastructure planning and prioritisation, raise construction standards and upskill the local construction sector.

Named after King Solomon due to its abundance of gold, Solomon Islands is rich in resources, including gold, nickel, and bauxite: offer opportunities for Australian mining companies. New mining legislation is being developed to attract investment and provide much needed transparency, environmental management, and sustainability.

Due to its declining forestry resources, once the backbone of the economy, Solomon Islands is seeking to diversify its economy. Other than mining, export opportunities exist in agriculture and sustainably sourced plantation timber. Our private sector development program, Strongim Bisnis, is supporting these sectors to grow domestically, while our Pacific Horticulture and Market Access program is opening export opportunities by helping businesses meet international standards — and now PACER Plus is removing tariff barriers in the region.

Finally, it's hard to write about Solomon Islands without mentioning its beautiful environment and widely recognised untapped tourism potential. While COVID-19 pandemic-related border closures have put a temporary hold on the tourism sector, Australia is supporting upgrades to key enabling infrastructure, like our $18 million investment in a New Zealand-led upgrade to airfields in Western and Choiseul provinces. Solomon Islands is focused on building new infrastructure in preparation for  eventually welcoming new visitors, including when it hosts the 2023 Pacific Games.


High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan toured a Solomon Islands commercial farm.
High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan toured a Solomon Islands commercial farm that is funded by Australia’s private sector development program, Strongim Bisnis, to convert green waste from Honiara Central Market into organic fertiliser. (Photo credit: Eugene Kerekere)

Tourism revitalised: coral reefs, mountains, and beaches

As the global economy regains its strength and momentum, Solomon Islands is looking to the post-pandemic horizon and the potential to grow its tourism industry.

With beautiful coral reefs, mountains and beaches, remarkable biodiversity and proximity to Australia, Solomon Islands has a natural appeal for tourists. An emerging destination before tourism came to a halt in 2020, this Pacific nation, made up of around 1,000 islands, catered to a niche market seeking to avoid the crowds and take advantage of its world-class dive sites.

Building up Solomon Islands' tourism industry is a national priority as a major job creator for its  more than 700,000 people. Tourism also foreign exchange revenues and an alternative to the unsustainable logging industry.

But private investors in Solomon Islands tourism have faced key challenges, including a lack of sites for investment and inadequate infrastructure. Complex land issues such as clarity of tenure have deterred much needed investment.

An International Finance Corporation (IFC) tourism project has laid the foundations to address such thorny problems, including through identifying more than 60 sites suitable for tourism development. The project has also conducted an environmental and social analysis of key sites and created an accompanying tourism focused investor guide.

IFC's work in Solomon Islands is guided by the Pacific Partnership, under which the governments of Australia and New Zealand together with IFC, are working to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty in the Pacific.

As the DFAT-funded Strongim Bisnis project noted, the identification of investable land and the inventory of land that can now be made available for investors is a “game changer” that overcomes a key barrier to entry in this exciting market.

There is a great opportunity to build a bigger, better tourism industry in Solomon Islands.

Thomas Jacobs,

IFC Country Manager for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

Tourism offers the opportunity for sustainable, inclusive growth and importantly, a way of broadening the economy, creating jobs and opportunities.


Soloman Islands Tourism
Soloman Islands Tourism, Credit: IFC



Building business partnerships

Emily Luck High Commissioner

Australia and Samoa have an enduring relationship which spans political, security, business, and people-to-people links. This year, we celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations. Throughout COVID-19, Australia has supported Samoa to strengthen health systems, promote stability and support economic recovery. We are pleased we have been able to effectively adapt our assistance to Samoa as the country's needs have evolved.

Private sector partnerships will play a role in supporting economic recovery in a COVID-shaped world. In support of this, Australia recently announced two new partnerships with businesses through its Business Partnerships Platform.

Australia will partner with local business, BookingSamoa, to scale online bookings for micro to medium sized tourism businesses, improving their online presence to increase opportunities and income when international borders re-open. We are also partnering with a business consortium of regional private laboratory and non-government organisations to provide enhanced expertise on screening and diagnostic facilities.

Congratulations to Roy Lagolago, selected to head the PACER Plus Implementation Unit based in Samoa. Through PACER Plus, we will see greater opportunities for local business, particularly in the agriculture sector, to access export markets. Australia was also pleased to select Samoa as the home to a new Regional Sports Hub for the Pacific. This builds on our shared love of sport and fosters future generations of sporting talent across the Pacific, while creating more opportunities for women and girls in the sporting arena.

Australia has played a supportive role in Samoa's vaccine rollout, sharing 50,000 CSL-manufactured AstraZeneca doses with Samoa. Beyond vaccines, we are proud that the Tamanu application, developed by Australian company, Beyond Essential Systems, has provided valuable and accurate data on immunisation rates. Vaccines are saving lives and the faster we can achieve comprehensive vaccine coverage, the faster we can get back to reopening our region.


Flag of France and Flag of New Caledonia

New Caledonia

A 'New' Caledonia means new opportunities for Australian business

Alison Carrington Consul-General

On 12 December, the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia will hold its third and final referendum on independence. Regardless of the result, all sides agree a new chapter of development and greater regional integration will begin. This creates opportunities for our highly regarded Australian businesses.

Only 1,500kms east of Queensland, New Caledonia's capital Nouméa is a 2-hour flight from Brisbane. With a GDP per capita of USD 32,600 in 2019 (third highest in the Pacific after Australia and NZ), the territory's 271,000 residents enjoy a high standard of living. With our natural advantages there are opportunities to increase Australia's position as the territory's fifth largest trading partner.

New Caledonia's strength is its ‘green' nickel (a key component in batteries) mining industry. Australian METS companies have had success supporting this industry, yet room to grow remains. The local energy transition towards net zero carbon emissions also opens doors to Australian technological expertise and investment.

Pre-COVID-19, New Caledonia welcomed over 300,000 Australian tourists each year. Once borders reopen, the industry expects significant growth in this sector. Opportunities exist, not only for direct investment, but to support local infrastructure expansion, such as port upgrades.

However, our greatest opportunity lies in education. Demand for world class English language skills, as well as technical and vocational education and training (especially in hospitality), is rising. Australian education providers are well placed to help meet these needs.

Agricultural links already go back over a century, with locals adopting Australian terms like ‘stockmen'! These are becoming more sophisticated with new opportunities in areas such as animal and plant genetics.

New Caledonia, with its French language and laws, may seem daunting at first, but with the right local partner and determination it can be rewarding. 81 years after we first opened, the Consulate-General continues to promote ways that make it more so.

À bientôt!



Unlocking Tonga's delicious export potential

Rachel Moore High Commissioner  

The Kingdom of Tonga is a beautiful archipelago of 178 islands in the vast South Pacific Ocean. Its climate, which is good for agriculture, and fertile soil contribute to the deliciousness of locally grown fruit and vegetables.  Its currently watermelon season in Tonga and my family and I are indulging daily in the sweetest watermelon we have ever tasted.

Agriculture is estimated to contribute 16 per cent to Tonga's Gross Domestic Product, and Tonga has one of the highest rates of subsistence food production among Pacific Islands countries. Investments in agriculture contribute to improving sustainable livelihoods and boosting economic growth.

With Australia's support, Tonga has embarked on a new project to design and construct an agricultural goods packhouse that will help Tonga's export marketing pathways for root crops and cucurbit, especially watermelons.

A study conducted by the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus) identified the need for a centralized general-purpose processing facility to  unlock Tonga's export potential.  The packhouse would need to be climate resilient and fully equipped to meet international standards in handling and biosecurity.

Not only will this new packhouse open up more market opportunities for our root crop products, it will also provide employment and income opportunities for women and youths who are heavily involved at the export processing stage.

Melesisi Finefeuiaki

Tongan root crops exporter

The project will contribute to Tonga's COVID-19 economic recovery and support the private sector to harness trade and development opportunities under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus). 

This packhouse project reaches out to each and every family and community in Tonga. The responsibility is on us to work and make good use of it, for the benefit of our families.

Samiu Vaipulu,

Former Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Tonga

With a feasibility study now completed, Australian company Reeves International with Tongan company Puloka Construction have been selected for the detailed design and construction of the packhouse. It will be built at Vaini village, the most centralized and accessible area of Tongatapu.

Australia is also supporting Tonga's horticulture and root crops sector by expanding the scope of agricultural extension activities that will help growers to upgrade their operations and enter export markets through the packhouse over the next five to ten years.

The Central Packhouse project is a demonstration of Australia's commitment to enable economic diversification and integration with Pacific communities. We hope it will help Tonga share its beautiful produce with neighboring countries, including Australia.

Ofa Atu.

Watermelon harvesting for export. Pictured: Watermelon Grower, Lampeti Mosaati, Young Growers Association
Watermelon harvesting for export. Pictured: Watermelon Grower, Lampeti Mosaati, Young Growers Association (Photo credit PHAMA Plus)



A passion for fruit drives ni-Vanuatu business to new heights

Sarah deZoeten High Commissioner

A passionfruit business - founded by Australian farmer and businessman Robert Osbourne - is thriving in Vanuatu. Based on the island of Espiritu Santo, Tropical Plantations Ltd has over 40,000 plants (equivalent to 10 per cent of Australia's total passionfruit production). Australia, in partnership with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), has supported the business to gain HACCP Certification, the global gold standard in food safety which opens access to international export markets. 

The story of Mr Osbourne's successful passionfruit farm is a small piece of the broader jigsaw of Australia's private sector, trade, and investment support in Vanuatu. In addition to HAACP, the Governance for Growth (GfG) program has supported VCCI to provide business coaching and one-on-one business mentoring to a number of micro, small and medium enterprises. This work, which has had a strong focus on women-founded and led businesses, has allowed them to adapt, pivot and survive through the pandemic.

GfG is also assisting the Government of Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Agency to develop its first National Investment Policy. The policy, which aims to increase and improve investment that promotes sustainable and equitable development, is critical to growing jobs and income opportunities as part of Vanuatu's economic recovery from COVID-19.

Australia is also supporting the Government of Vanuatu's ambition to utilise technology to improve trade through the establishment of the Vanuatu National Electronic Single Window (ESW) Project. A Pacific Island first, the ESW makes trade faster, easier, and more reliable by digitising paper-based processes and connecting inter-operable systems such as customs, biosecurity and trade. This has allowed Vanuatu to better connect to global markets which will drive local business growth.


First Secretary Port Vila, Frédéric Jeanjean (left) visits Mr Robert Osbourne’s (right) passionfruit farm on the island of Espiritu Santo
First Secretary Port Vila, Frédéric Jeanjean (left) visits Mr Robert Osbourne’s (right) passionfruit farm on the island of Espiritu Santo


Flag of Federated States of Micronesia

Federated States of Micronesia

Australian innovation in Micronesia

Jo Cowley Ambassador

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a beautiful, ‘large-ocean state' at the frontline of climate change - with 607 islands located over 2.6 million square kilometres of ocean. Australian companies are delivering innovative services and advice to support transformative projects across FSM.

Queensland-based telecommunications services company Universal Communications Group (UCG) has been designing a fibre to the premise project in FSM to connect homes to the internet. It is part of a World Bank project building reliable and affordable internet access to boost economic growth and delivery of public services.

Since February this year, UCG has been working virtually in Yap and Pohnpei States to train survey teams and provide them with the systems and tools to carry out the work. UCG has distributed GPS dongles to assist local teams accurately locate customers. Despite their remote situation, UCG says its approach in FSM is building a strong partnership between its offshore and local teams.

Efforts to restore the coconut industry in FSM are also benefiting from Australian expertise. Vital Corporation, a local company, has been exploring hybrid renewable energy solutions, including using crude nut oil and coconut biomass for energy production. In 2018, Perth-based energy company Balance partnered with Vital to deliver a 40kW Solar and Battery solution using a Crude Nut Oil Generator for the Pohnpei bulk fuel terminal. It was a first-of-its-kind energy project in the Pacific, substituting diesel with 100 per cent pure crude nut oil.

Balance is now working with Vital to design and construct a ‘renewable ready' power station to accommodate future photovoltaic (solar) battery storage and biomass generation for a new coconut processing plant in Chuuk.

Australian company BMT Defence and Security delivered studies on materials handling and port infrastructure for Vital and has also helped it acquire a new landing craft vessel for the coconut farming and processing project in Chuuk.

These projects have showcased Australian capabilities and innovation in crucial sectors such as telecommunications, renewable energy and maritime design, as well as their ability to respond to the challenges of geographical remoteness, climate and other local conditions.


Workers on a roof installing solar panels
Photo credit: Balance


Flag of French Polynesia

French Polynesia

A new Consulate-General: French Polynesia is open for Australian business

Claire Scott  Consul-General

The Australian Consulate-General in Papeete opened on 3 May 2021. It is committed to helping Australian businesses understand the local trade and investment environment, advocating on economic issues of interest and helping to identify emerging opportunities.

As a French territory, French Polynesia has a stable regulatory environment, high levels of education, a high per-capita income and substantial infrastructure. It is well connected to European, US, Chinese and New Zealand markets. Australia has a good reputation here, especially given our similar tropical geography; locals are keen to see what we can offer.

Opportunities for Australian businesses and investors exist in:

  • Tourism – expected to rebound strongly after the pandemic, new hotels, and training for qualified staff to run them are needed
  • Pearl farming – the iconic Tahitian black pearl
  • Aquaculture – tropical lagoon fish
  • Food and beverage
  • Broader VET and tertiary Education services
  • Municipal services – such as waste disposal and recycling solutions
  • Infrastructure – including public works, with a focus on the local transition to renewable energies


Flag of Nauru


Roadmap charts course for private sector development opportunities

Dr Helen Cheney High Commissioner

In 2020-21, Australia supported the Nauru Chamber of Commerce to partner with Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) to develop a private sector Roadmap to strengthen Nauru's sustainable economic development.

The Chamber aspires to foster cross-sector collaboration and the Roadmap will advance private sector development in alignment with Nauru's broader socioeconomic development aims.

Sean Oppenheimer

The Roadmap aims to strengthen communities through business, by supporting and promoting locally-led, private sector driven solutions, open collaboration and youth leadership and entrepreneurship.

Liz Mackinlay


The Roadmap has been developed to streamline private sector development opportunities alongside broader economic development priorities under Nauru's National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS).

Two examples are the construction of a new seaport and resurfacing of the airstrip. The port construction project is jointly funded by the Government of Nauru, Australia, the Asian Development Bank and the Green Climate Fund. The outcome will be a climate resilient sea transport hub for Nauru.

The port project will reduce shipping costs and ensure the reliable shipment of food, medical supplies, fuel and other essentials, it will also open up opportunities for the private sector in and around the new port facility.

The airstrip resurfacing project is funded by the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific and will increase certainty for business owners and managers and improve safety for Nauru's air transport for the next two decades.


Flag of Palau


A Pristine Paradise

Richelle Turner Ambassador 

Palau, a small island state with a population of approximately 18,000, is a popular tourist destination for travellers from Pacific rim economies like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, as well as the US. Like Australia, Palau is surrounded by an amazing reef system with a rich and diverse marine life that provides experiences like no other.

Palau's tourism industry was hard hit by COVID-19, and there is renewed interest in diversifying the economy to protect it from future downturns. Although barriers still exist, including issues with land tenure and foreign direct investment regulations, the Government of Palau welcomes private investment in sustainable business such as renewable energy and infrastructure. As an innovator in environmental conservation, Palau is also proactively encouraging eco-tourism.

Tourism businesses in Palau have had to diversify given border restrictions over the past year, including the COVE Resort Palau co-owned and managed by Australian Matt Wakley. With the loss of tourists, the COVE quickly adapted to provide quarantine facilities for repatriated residents and essential workers. With 92 per cent of the total population now vaccinated, Palau and the COVE are ready to welcome back tourists. Tourists buses are becoming a familiar sight with the travel bubble opening up again between Palau and Taiwan and weekly flights via Guam. 

Overseas markets are keen to access Palau's range of rare aquatic species. Marine life nursery, the Biota Group, is at the forefront of Palau's aquaculture industry. Founded by Australian Tom Bowling in 2012, Biota's approach to aquaculture aims to protect and restore the ocean. Biota exports marine life to aquarists and pet stores, predominantly in the United States and Europe.

Global health emergencies such as COVID-19 have highlighted the need for countries to modernise and strengthen national health information systems. Through Australia's development program and working with the Ministry of Health, an Australian company – Beyond Essential Systems (BES) – is installing an eHealth system that will digitize public health data and provide an end-to-end logistics management system. BES has developed software specifically for the Pacific context. The software is free and open source, sync-enabled and interoperable with other existing health management systems, demonstrating the success of fit-for-purpose innovative solutions.

Australian businesses interested in discussing opportunities are welcome to contact the Australian Embassy in Palau,

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