Sixteen European Union Ambassadors are touring the region to gain an insight in to investment and trade opportunities at the invitation of Bundaberg Regional Council.
European Union Ambassador to Australia Dr Michael Pulch said it was a valuable experience and a chance to learn more about the region.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be in Bundaberg here together with 15 of my colleagues of EU member states,” Dr Pulch said.
“This is part of an outreach that we do to Queensland in general terms but we start here in Bundaberg because we got a nice invitation letter by Mayor Jack Dempsey who told us that we should come to this place and to this region to learn more about economic opportunities and this place itself.
“We see here in Bundaberg there is a lot to offer in many ways.
“Some of these iconic products we visited … I personally wasn’t aware Bundaberg Rum has already been awarded with some of the world’s most prestigious awards.
“This is the type of information that is also interesting for our consumers.”
With international free trade negotiations under way, Dr Pulch said it was the perfect time to investigate opportunities within the two countries’ respective markets.
“Our main job is basically to inform our headquarters about what is happening in Australia, where we see opportunities for us to work with Australia,” he said.
“Big companies are already invested here, small and medium sized companies will probably be the next wave of companies who would like to come and be here.”
But he said free trade wasn’t just a benefit for big business.
“Often we talk about what we do for our companies, but we shouldn’t forget we do a lot of this work for European and Australian consumers,” he said.
“When you open up markets it means that you get the better choice for a lower price.
“Europeans get to know the products that are produced here in Bundaberg and we are here to learn more about them.
“I can tell you already my colleagues and I are absolutely delighted by what we are seeing during this trip.”
Based in Canberra and often visiting capital cities, he said this trip was the first time ambassadors had more time to explore regional Queensland and hold more “intensive” discussions.
“I look forward to having more of these visits because I think this is the best way for us to understand how the heartland works.”
Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was a privilege and an honour to host the European Union Ambassadors during the two day visit.
“It’s been an approach from the Bundaberg Regional Council to get as many countries visiting this beautiful region to experience what we already know is one of the most liveable places in the whole of Australia,” Mayor Dempsey said.
He said any free trade agreement would be welcomed by producers and manufacturers throughout the region.
“We’ve written to our state and federal counterparts to look at Bundaberg for a trial area for free trade opportunities,” he said.
“We’re just saying that certainly there is opportunities here.”