12/06/2019 4:00:00 p.m.
12 June 2019
Developing economic ties with Asia, as well as exploring business opportunities with Australian sister city Toowoomba, will be the focus of Whanganui District Council representation at the 12th Asia Pacific Cities Summit and at the Asian Century Conference in Brisbane next month.
At a Council meeting on 11 June, Councillors accepted a recommendation that Cr Alan Taylor attend the summit and the Mayor’s Forum at the conference and visit sister city Toowoomba on behalf of Mayor Hamish McDouall, who is unable to attend. Whanganui & Partners Chief Executive Mark Ward will also attend the summit, conference and Toowoomba visit.
The Council was formally invited to attend the conference by Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio.
This year’s theme is “Driving Cities through Business and Innovation.” Attracting more than 1300 delegates from over 100 cities, the summit also offers a programme to facilitate business meetings to assist with trade development.
Toowoomba's Economic Development organisation, Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, will hold a trade event, "Ag in the Asian Century Conference" that will run concurrently in the same venue. It will focus on the agriculture and agribusiness fields, enabling food producers to do business throughout Asia.
A two day visit to the Toowoomba region will focus on visiting a digital hub, food and beverage clusters, creative industry centres and tourist/visitor information centres.
Cr Taylor says that with the Council recently signing an agreement with Lijiang, China and strengthening its relationships with its sister cities, the summit will provide a greater understanding about doing business in Asia, as well as business opportunities to partner with Toowoomba.
“The Asia Pacific Cities Summit will cover the innovation, liveability and sustainability of cities and I hope to glean what future city development might look like as cities are increasingly challenged by the almost overwhelming themes of sustainability and expected climate change.
“Most cities represented will be many times the size of Whanganui and provide a range of different examples of how they have approached these themes.”
Cr Taylor says the Toowoomba visit will also be worthwhile, particularly seeing first-hand its development of integrated infrastructure and utilities networks.
“I understand it has taken an holistic approach to its water and waste management services and we appear to view planning for our community, economy and environment in a similar way.”
He is also interested in Toowoomba’s role in energy production.
Mr Ward says he will study the success of the Global Agrifood Innovation Precinct in Toowoomba, food and beverage clusters and Toowoomba’s international Wellcamp Airport.
“Businesses have invested heavily, alongside local and federal government, in positioning Toowoomba as a global agrifood innovation hub, matched by ready-access to international markets through their local airport.
“Cathay Pacific flies freight directly to and from Wellcamp Airport and through their Hong Kong hub into China. This could be a model for providing a direct freight service from Ohakea airbase to China for our regional produce and value-added food and beverage. Other areas of interest will be the creative industries centres and visitor centres.”
For more information on the summit and ag conference, visit: