A government minister from the Australian state of Queensland yesterday urged greater interaction between his state and Taiwan and said that Taiwan had donated a generous sum of money to help Queensland flood victims recover from their losses earlier this year.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for State Development and Trade Andrew Fraser said Taiwan was very enthusiastic about assisting Queensland with its reconstruction in the aftermath of severe flooding there in December last year and early January.
“Much of the support from local Taiwanese was very substantial,” he said.
Although many countries made donations, the Taiwanese business community in Queensland was at the very top of the support effort during the disaster relief appeal, he said.
Three-quarters of the state was declared a disaster zone and it now requires about A$5.6 billion (US$6.15 billion) to repair the infrastructure, government estimates show.
Fraser said that the donations from Taiwan and other countries have already helped 27,000 families whose homes were damaged in the floods.
Driven by vibrant business activities, the relations between the people of Taiwan and Queensland have always been close, Fraser said.
“For a long time, Taiwan has been a very important trading partner and a source of commodity exports,” he said.
Taiwan is Queensland’s fifth-largest trading partner, with an annual export market valued at about A$3 billion.
Queensland’s major exports to Taiwan are coal and agricultural produce, such as sugar and beef.
Fraser also said that there are about 4,000 Taiwanese studying in Queensland and that about 46,000 Taiwanese visit the northeastern Australian state annually.
During his three-day visit to Taiwan, Fraser and a delegation from Queensland’s business, education and architectural sectors will call on Greater Kaohsiung officials and representatives from Taisugar, China Steel and Taipower Co.