A 35-year-old relationship between Cairns and its closest Sister City has been reaffirmed this week with a delegation from Lae, Papua New Guinea.
PNG’s second largest city, Lae shares a similar history to Cairns, being founded on mining and then agriculture.
It is home to PNG's largest port, is considered the industrial capital of the country, and has a population of approximately 100,000.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said it was important for both cities to capitalise on their “special” relationship.
“Our relationship as Sisters Cities has grown thanks to an extensive program of cultural and economic exchanges, and through visiting delegations between our cities,” Cr Manning said.
The visiting delegation includes Member for Lae John Rosso who is PNG’s Minister for Lands and Physical Planning; Miring Singoling, Morobe Deputy Administrator; Neil Ellery, the CEO Lae City Authority; President of Lae Chamber of Commerce John Byrne; and Hillary Miria from the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.
Cultural exchanges have been key in building a strong relationship between the cities, such as Lae’s participation in the Cairns ‘Face of a Sister City’ photographic exhibition in 2009; a visit from 30 students and five teachers in 2013; and the 2017 tour by our Sister Cities Ambassador Sim Hayward of Lae City Council and its Botanic Gardens.
Economic ties have also been bolstered through multiple delegations, Cr Manning said.
In 2013, Cr Manning visited Lae and signed Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work together to improve municipal infrastructure and the provision of public services in both cities, and earlier this year Council took part in a delegation to Lae to bolster economic ties.
Council recently reaffirmed its commitment to the ongoing relationship through a $9,800 grant to Cairns Chamber of Commerce subcommittee Tradelinked Cairns-PNG-Pacific to undertake research and prepare a paper to support the case for direct flights between Cairns and Lae.
“This is another example of how we are working with all levels of government to ensure we can make the most of the opportunities presented,” Cr Manning said.
“There are unlimited opportunities to further strengthen the bonds of friendship, cooperation and prosperity between our two cities.”
The three-day visit included an invitation to the CIAF Symposium on Wednesday 10 July; Welcome Event at Cairns Regional Council, followed by a Cairns business networking and an economic function at EiiC, and attendance to CIAF Opening Night on Thursday 11 July; and networking and briefing sessions on volunteering, youth, labour mobility and arts on Friday 12 July.