Trade and business opportunities for Queensland have been strengthened with the signing of a new and enhanced sister-state agreement with Japan’s Saitama Prefecture today.
Premier Campbell Newman and Saitama Prefecture Governor Kiyoshi Ueda today marked the 30th anniversary of the sister-state relationship by committing to continued co-operation on trade, education, tourism and business opportunities between the two regions.
Mr Newman said the sister-state relationship was also being celebrated with a gift of three koalas for the Saitama Children’s Zoo.
“There have been many exchanges in areas such as education and the economy since the sister-state relationship started in 1984 and sharing our unique wildlife will be something for Saitama residents and visitors alike to enjoy for years to come,” Mr Newman said.
“Japan is one of Queensland’s most reliable and important trading partners with our two-way merchandise trade growing by more than 50 per cent over the past decade, to be valued at $12.9 billion in 2012/13.
“Japan now buys almost half of Queensland’s fresh beef exports and nearly $5 billion worth of coal every year. Japan also accounts for 10 per cent of foreign investment in Australia and is still one of Queensland’s top five tourism markets.”
Mr Newman said strengthening ties with trading partners was an important part of the Government’s strong plan to grow a four pillar economy.
“More jobs are being created in Queensland than in any other state and we are on the cusp of even stronger economic growth,” he said.
“Our strong plan is getting Queensland back on track so we again become the nation’s leading economy.”
The Joint Statement on Enhanced Cooperation between Queensland and Japan’s Saitama Prefecture includes:
- Supporting study abroad program exchanges between high schools and universities
- Sending delegations to promote trade, education, tourism and business opportunities
- Exchanging information on emergency and reconstruction management in natural disasters
- Sharing expertise on environmental management and co-operating on initiatives to protect rare animal species
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the koalas would be travelling to their new home at Saitama Children’s Zoo in the next few months and Queensland experts would be closely involved in the transfer process.
“We will be working with the Saitama Prefecture Government to ensure they have all the support they may require for their new arrivals,” he said.
“This is not the first time Queensland has provided a gift of koalas to Saitama Children’s Zoo and we are delighted to be able to continue this long tradition of friendship.”
Mr Powell said a pair of koalas had been provided to Saitama Prefecture in the 1980s but over the years it had become increasingly difficult to find suitable mating pairs in Japan.
“Our newest goodwill ambassadors have been chosen to help preserve the genetic sustainability of Japan’s zoo populations of koalas,” he said.
Dreamworld Corroboree General Manager Life Sciences Al Mucci said the captive Koalas will help provide long awaited new genetics to the current six being held at the zoo.
“Dreamworld Corroboree is pleased to be supporting the Queensland Premier by providing three koalas to Saitama Children’s Zoo,” Mr Mucci said.
“We hope to strengthen our relationships with Saitama children’s Zoo for the betterment of Koalas in the wild.”
The signing of the agreement today follows the Premier’s trade mission to Japan in September 2013.