Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

ASIA CALLING Food Boom the Next Big Thing for Our Region; Former PM Says Region in Prime Position to Cash In

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

ASIA CALLING Food Boom the Next Big Thing for Our Region; Former PM Says Region in Prime Position to Cash In

Article excerpt

Byline: Tara Miko tara.miko@thechronicle.com.au

AN UNLIKELY pair will join forces to promote the Darling Downs to the world's fastest growing economy.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke will take one of the region's biggest names in business, John Wagner, under his wing when he makes his 102nd trip to China within the next month.

The Labor legend said Mr Wagner's innovation with regards to the Wellcamp Airport was critical to the future international trading prosperity of the Darling Downs region.

"That could be the key to the burgeoning opportunity in China," Mr Hawke said.

"It will be able to ensure the rapid delivery of a vast range of products to be sourced from this region."

Mr Hawke said that although the airport opened up logistical trading possibilities with the world's fastest growing economy, the calibre of the region's businessmen would help it reach its full potential.

Mr Hawke made light of his infrequent visits to the Toowoomba region during his time as the nation's leader before commending the region's business leaders for tapping into the Chinese food boom.

"I didn't spend a lot of time here because it wasn't very fertile Labor territory - that was my loss," he said in his opening remarks to the inaugural Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise's Thought Leadership luncheon.

"(But) you've got the most important thing here and that is a vibrantly committed and interested population.

"I have been impressed, in the very short time I have been here, with the range of people who are keen to develop their region through export."

Mr Hawke recounted the importance of key political decisions made during his term as prime minister from 1983-1992, focusing much of his time on establishing trade relations with China.

He urged entrepreneurs to engage joint venture brokers to secure successful partnerships with Chinese companies. …

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