INVESTMENT updates, project information and challenges were discussed at the 32nd Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Exhibition (APNGBF) in Cairns, Australia.

About 403 delegates, including member and non-member and sponsor delegates, speakers, and media attended this year’s event, held over three days in mid-May.

The trade exhibition comprised 50 booths and hosted 89 exhibitors, and along with additional dinner guests each night, the forum had over 500 attendees, according to event organisers.

PNG’s gender equality challenges were a hot topic at the conference, with Kokoda Track Foundation Archer Leadership Scholar Stephannie Kirriwom engaging the audience with her leadership experience during her presentation at the Westpac pre-forum dinner on opening night.

PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill attended the event’s opening cocktail reception and dinner, held at Cairns Convention Centre, and welcomed delegates on the morning of the event with a keynote address.

Economic reports, resource project updates, reports on social challenges and a range of workshops and discussions followed over the two days of the conference.

The APNGBF audience heard updates and project insight from resource companies, including ExxonMobil PNG’s managing director Andrew Barry who gave an engaging presentation on the next stage of PNG LNG, PanAust’s general manager Glen Connell delivered an update on the development of the Frieda River project, and Kumul Petroleum Holdings chairman Frank Kramer, who provided insight into PNG’s oil and gas sector.

ANZ Banking Group hosted the conference dinner on the evening of the first day of the conference, which followed the AustAsia Pacific Health Services cocktail reception held at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.

Business Council of PNG president David Toua led the closing remarks on the final day, which followed a session on building a sustainable economic future for Bougainville.

A cocktail reception sponsored by SP Brewery closed the three day event and brought delegates and exhibitors together as a final opportunity to network and to reflect on the conference and exhibition.

The 33rd Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Exhibition will take place in May, 2017 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.