KZN and Aussie state renew ties

POLITICAL and trade relations between KwaZulu-Natal and the state of Queensland in Australia are expected to be strengthened when a cooperation agreement is signed between the two countries this week.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize left yesterday afternoon for an official visit to Queensland. He returns on Friday.

"The signing of the cooperation agreement will facilitate for business-to-business contacts and partnerships between the citizens of the two regions," Mkhize said.

He said the agreement will ensure the promotion of development and cooperation and the exchange of knowledge, skills and expertise in the following fields: the enhancement of economic development through trade and investment; mining (including equipment, technologies and services for the mining industry); infrastructure and construction; agribusiness; education and training; natural disaster management; waste management; clean technologies as well as the promotion of cooperation with regard to arts, culture, tourism and sport.

In March 2007, the then premier of Queensland, Peter Bettie, visited KwaZulu-Natal to sign the first cooperation agreement between the two provinces.

That agreement expired the following year.