The Australian government had engaged in a discussion with local officials here to develop more private sector investments in Palau, State Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg said.

Minister Rehuher-Marugg, in an interview, revealed that part of the discussions brought up during the recent meeting with the Australian delegation in Palau on July 2-3 was about the development of private investments.

“The idea is to develop more private sector investments and also to employ people so that [they would not just look] to government as employer but [also to] private sectors,” Rehuher-Marugg.

According to the State Minister, tourism was also brought up during the meeting but she said they had acknowledged that accessibility is a challenge in getting more tourists from Australia to visit Palau.

Rehuher-Marugg said that Palau is still in the talking stage with Air Niugini, which currently serves some destinations in Australia, to open a flight to and from Palau.

Palau is getting visitors from Australia but they come here through various stopovers and transits as there is no direct flight to Palau, the minister explained.

“That is not easy for visitors to come to Palau so that’s why we have visitors from Australia going to Vanuatu and other places that are closer to them,” she said.

In our previous report, senior officials from Australia and North Pacific island nations namely the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau had held a meeting in the latter to discuss national development priorities and some regional issues.

The two-day dialogue, which kicked off on July 2, revolved around the discussion on cooperation and information sharing on a wide range of topics such as foreign and trade policy, regional security cooperation, and development cooperation, among others. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)