Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting in Adelaide Brings Bright Future

By: Marcelle P. Villegas November 09, 2023

[Adelaide, South Australia] October 10, 2023 - The sixth Philippines–Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) (L-R) Mr Raffy Toda (Australia Philippines Business Council President), Hon Don Farrell (Trade and Tourism Minister Senator), Atty Dennis Quintero (Philippines Australia Business Council Chairman) (Photo credit: Samuel Phelps DFAT)

On October 10, 2023, the sixth Philippines–Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) was held in Adelaide, South Australia. The dialogue was headed by Trade and Tourism Minister Senator, the Honorable Don Farrell. The event was chaired by the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency HK Yu PSM, along with other representatives from the private sector from Australia and the Philippines.

According to Minister Farrell, the Philippines is an extremely important economic partner for which a business mission will be sent to the Philippines in 2024. They will also establish an investment deal team in Manila.

They also discussed the report by Nicholas Moore’s “Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040”. He is Australia’s Special Envoy for Southeast Asia. Looking back, Mr Moore presented this report during his Manila visit last March 24, 2023 for the media launch of the Partners for Infrastructure (P4I) initiative. The event was hosted by the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. HK Yu PSM and was held at Conrad Manila Luxury Hotel. During this visit, Mr Moore mentioned that building greater connections between businesses and people is essential to deepening our economic relationships. “Australia is strengthening links with the Philippines and the region by delivering a Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, which will set out a pathway to help unlock two-way trade and investment opportunities for business for the next two decades.”

During the dialogue in Adelaide, the business delegation presented their topics and discussed how they can support Australia and their investment strategy in the Philippines. The discussion tackled the “Sectors to Watch” from the “Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040” which include Agriculture and Food, Education and Skills, Resources and Green Energy Transition.

The discussion about Agriculture and Food mentioned how the Australian government can be assisted in the increase of Australian dairy product import into the Philippines.

For the topic on Education and Skills, they talked about narrowing the qualification gap and the recommendation of deploying Australian standards into the Philippines for various industries such as aged care, technology and engineering. [1]

For Resources, they discussed how Australian mining companies can be encouraged to explore and invest in the Philippines for mining and mineral processing. They also talked about having a partnership with Philippine universities and colleges for material science and metallurgical engineering.  

There was great interest in Green Energy Transition as Fortescue shared their progress on Hydrogen energy, Southern Infrastructure with Thorium energy, and Cyclion who provides a Waste to Energy and Fuel solution using waste material such as plastics. [1]

“To place Southeast Asia Economic Strategy into motion, a Philippine action plan has been created and requires the following tactics: Raising awareness, Remove blockages, Build Capacity, and Deepen investment,” [1] from the post of Australia Philippines Business Council.


(Taken from “Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040” by Mr Nicholas Moore AO)


“Discussions on Raising Awareness included outward investment mission programs to the Philippines, and how the private sector firms could offer assistance and collaborate to deliver objectives.” 

“On Removing Blockages, recognition of qualifications must be enabled, along with building ongoing engagement, providing technical support to Philippine regulators and industry associations, and facilitating commercial education training to match Australian education providers and Philippine institutions and businesses. The deployment of Australian standards to the Philippines was recognised during the dialogue. Further discussions included the funding and guidance to address biosecurity challenges. Information about the recent signing of MOUs between Australian universities and Philippine educational providers was welcomed which includes Murdoch University’s MOU with Ateneo UST and Batangas Tech.” [1]

Moreover, during the dialogue, it was mentioned that Building Capacity in the Philippines comprised of subjects such as the increase cooperation on mining policies – including sharing Australia’s expertise in environmental, social and governance frameworks, work with the Philippine Government to strengthen public-private partnerships, enhance support for relevant high-quality research and analysis to foster stronger links between academic institutions and policymakers, and considerations of aged care vocational training program supported by Australian aged care providers.  [1]

It was also recommended for Australia to share their experience and funding with the Philippines for mining and oil and gas projects.

For the fourth required action, Deepening of Investment into the Philippines, some recommendations included extending Partnerships for Infrastructure (P4I) funding for early-stage project preparation support, exploration of a new phase of Australian education and skills assistance to improve standards, and exploration of opportunities for public-private partnerships in digital health.

“These activities could potentially extend to the funding of Feasibility Studies and Project Financing such as EV programs, exploration opportunity for linkages in AI research, and assistance with studies and on-cost for Technology developers in the Philippines.” [1]

It was reported that the Philippines has a Real GDP growth projected to be around 6% annually over the next five years, which is among the highest in Southeast Asia. Other than the recent opening of the economy to foreign investments, there are other important factors that will help sustain the GDP growth of the country. These include the following: better use of capital, labour and technology to increase productivity, and improvements to ease of doing business.

Based on the latest joint statement between Australia and the Philippines, ‘The Ministers and Secretaries reinforced our countries’ commitment to striving for a region that is open, stable and prosperous.’

Atty Dennis Quintero, Chairman of the PABC said, “The Philippines-Australia Business Council (PABC) congratulates the government and private sector representatives from the two countries for the focused and engaging discussions on the identified priority sectors to expand trade and investment between the Philippines and Australia. The PABC is pleased to have provided the Philippine private sector representation in the discussions, working hand-in-hand with our counterpart the Fortescue. Many thanks to our gracious hosts in Adelaide, South Australia!”

The Australian Government Delegation included: Mr Clancy O’Donnell – Trade Adviser to the Minister for Trade and Tourism, Mr Ravi Kewalram – First Assistant Secretary, Free Trade Agreements and Stakeholder Engagement Division DFAT, Mr Jay Meek – General Manager for Trade Austrade, Mr Hugh Robilliard – Assistant Secretary, Southeast Asia Maritime Branch DFAT, Ms Jill Collins – Director DFAT South Australia State Office, Ms Johanna Stratton – Director, Southeast Asia Maritime Branch DFAT and Mr Angus Coverdale – Policy Officer, Philippines Section DFAT.

Business delegation present at the dialogue included: Dr Thomas G. Aquino, Vice Chairman, Philippines Australia Business Council, Mr Sabas “Jun”, Capili – Director Kaizen ANZ Pty Ltd, Ms Carmen Garcia – Founder and CEO Community Corporate, Mr Philip Major – Founder & CEO Cyclion Energy, Dr Simon McKirdy – Pro Vice Chancellor, Harry Butler Institute ; Professor of Biosecurity, Murdoch University, Atty. Dennis A. Quintero – Chairman Philippines Australia Business Council, Mr Christopher Sampson – Conceptual Systems Designer Future Earth Systems, Ms Violy Searby – Treasurer Philippines Australia Business Council, Mr Jeff Pearman – FFI Regional Portfolio Leader Fortescue Metals Group Limited,  Mr John Tantoco – Director Australia Philippines Business Council, Mr Rafael Toda – President Australia Philippines Business Council and Mr Paul Watson – Managing Director, Southern Infrastructure Pty Ltd.



[1] Australia Philippines Business Council (Oct. 10, 2023). “PAMM Dialogue with Minister for Trade and Tourism Senator the Hon Don Farrell”

[2] “Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040” by Mr Nicholas Moore AO

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