AWB Limited today welcomed the appointment of Mr Brendan Stewart, Chairman of AWB Limited, as Chair of the newly formed Council for Australian-Arab Relations.
Mr Stewart said it was a very important forum to further develop the already good relations between Australia and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
"The Middle East has been a real success story for Australian exports over many years, especially wheat exports," said Mr Stewart.
"Through my appointment the Federal Government has recognised the success AWB has achieved in exporting wheat to Arab countries, with almost 50% of Australia’s wheat export sales going into the region and this amounts to 1 - 2% of the total of Australian exports to the world.
"That hasn't been an easy thing to achieve - at times there has been some instability in some areas, however we remained focused on building goodwill and trusted relationships, and the results speak for themselves.
"As Chairman I will be focusing on creating a better understanding and appreciation among Australians of the rich and diverse Arab culture. At the same time, through the Council, we will make Australia and Australians better known and understood in the Arab world.
"I would like to see this Council working to build greater understanding, trust and goodwill between the Australian and Arab people, and I hope this in turn increases Australian interest in Middle Eastern tourism, trade and commerce," said Mr Stewart.
The Council will consolidate and build upon strong business relationships which have been established through such forums as the Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Council will serve the national interest by enhancing Australia’s economic, political, cultural and social links with Arab countries.