A bi-partisan mission from Australia arrived here today to prepare for the start of the Queen's Baton Relay on Monday (March 13) and to discuss business opportunities presented by next year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.
The party is led by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones.
They are joined by City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and Peter Beattie, the chairman of Gold Coast 2018.
The delegation also includes Queensland's Shadow Commonwealth Games Minister John-Paul Langbroek and Rob Borbidge, like Beattie, a former Premier.
Together, they took part in the inaugural meeting of the Commonwealth Trade Ministers in the British capital.
"We are going for gold for Queensland as part of this very important London visit that comes at a pivotal time for the Commonwealth and its new trade agenda," said Palaszczuk.
"We are committed to driving economic opportunities for the state and our significant investment in the Commonwealth Games is an investment in the future.
“The Commonwealth’s two billion people make up 30 per cent of the world’s population and constitutes about a fifth of the gross domestic product so the opportunities for trade and business are significant.
The Queen's Baton Relay is due to travel 230,000 kilometres across the Commonwealth's 70 countries and territories before its arrival at the Opening Ceremony of Gold Coast 2018 on April 4 next year.
“A team of 15 officers are travelling to London to support the delegation, Queen’s Baton Relay launch and this extensive trade and investment programme," said Jones.
"This will provide the backbone to our international activities with a roadshow of business receptions and briefings in key markets, designed to target priority international buyers and investors."
Tate, an independent Mayor but with close links to the Liberal Party, claimed the fact he and Palaszczuk, who represents Labor, were working so closely together demonstrated how important the Commonwealth Games is to the city and state.
"This partnership approach will show the world we are ready for 2018 and we have so much to offer so far as investment, sport, education, tourism and culture," Tate said.
"Council’s international investment team will ensure the business-to-business exchange and networking is first class throughout our UK visit."
Gold Coast 2018 are also due to provide an update on preparations to the CGF Executive Board during its two-day meeting starting here tomorrow.