Queensland Government ‘Friends of Queensland’ Reception
It is a great pleasure to make my first official visit to the Republic of Korea as Governor, and to join you here today.
The Australia-Korea relationship was first forged in war, and yesterday I had the honour of visiting the Gapyeong Memorial Site, commemorating a significant battle in 1953 in which Australian and New Zealand defence personnel fought as part of the UN Forces during the Korean War.
The relationship between the Republic of Korea and Australia, including our State of Queensland, has strengthened and deepened since that time.
At the government-to-government level, Queensland has had a Sister State agreement with Gyeonggi Province since 1997.
Commercially, our two-way trade is now worth more than AUD$7.3 billion (per annum) and Korea is now Queensland’s fourth-largest export market.
That trade continues to diversify beyond Queensland’s important and traditional coal and beef exports. Now it extends even to high-quality ice cream, exported to Korea by a company well-known in Queensland, Weis Frozen Foods.
The breadth and strength of the bilateral trade relationship will be further boosted by the Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect late last year.
Korea is major investor in Queensland in critical areas including energy, manufacturing and utilities. That relationship continues to grow and prosper, including through partnerships such as that between the Queensland Investment Corporation and the Korean Finance Corporation.
Our people-to-people links, forged through education and tourism, are also strong. Korea is Queensland’s third largest source of international education enrolments with 6,582 students enrolled in 2014. In the same year, Queensland welcomed 57,000 South Korean visitors.
The Queensland-Korea relationship has been further enhanced through the arts, via collaborations in major festivals such as the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, the children’s festival, Out of the Box, and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Taken together, all of those connections tell the story of a robust, broad-based relationship between Queensland and Korea that is highly beneficial to both partners.
The Queensland Trade and Investment Office in Korea has played an important role in building and maintaining those relationships. In that respect I encourage you to make the acquaintance of our distinguished – and very new – Commissioner in Seoul, Mr Kim Dae-Hyun.
As someone who is Queensland-born and educated, and who has had extensive private sector experience in facilitating trade and investment between Australia and Korea, Commissioner Kim is in an ideal position. I wish the Commissioner every success in his new role.
I thank you all for attending this important event today, and I wish all “Friends of Queensland” great success in forging an even more prosperous and mutually beneficial relationship between the wonderful State that I represent, and Korea.