SMEC was a proud Platinum Sponsor at the 39th Australia PNG Business Forum and Technical Expo, held from 13 to 15 May 2024, in Gold Coast, Australia. Our team, including Zahid Iqbal (Regional Manager Roads & Highways SEA & Pacific), Nash Kobarajah (Country Manager - PNG & Geotechnical Manager - Pacific) and Matt Box (Principal Project Manager Water, Dams & Hydro QLD), actively participated in sessions centered around the theme “Climate of Change: Opportunities for Business in Papua New Guinea.”



This annual event gathers senior business and government representatives from both Australia and Papua New Guinea. Notable attendees included John Rosso MP, Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and Minister for Lands, along with other key ministers and senior officials from the PNG Government. Representing Australia were Elizabeth Peak, Head of the Office of the Pacific at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and John Feakes, High Commissioner of Australia to Papua New Guinea, among others.


Zahid, Nash and Matt engaged in an enlightening exchange of ideas alongside fellow participants, delving into topics such as infrastructure development, sustainable engineering and the integration of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles into projects.

Zahid highlighted the importance of resilient transportation networks:

“Transportation networks are the backbone of economic growth and connectivity. At SMEC, we are dedicated to designing and implementing road and highway projects that enhance mobility, reduce environmental impact and promote resilience in the face of climate change.”
———— Zahid Iqbal
“Our work is focused on developing resilient infrastructure that can withstand the unique geotechnical challenges of the region. By leveraging innovative geotechnical solutions, we are committed to building stronger, more sustainable communities prepared for the impacts of climate change.”
———— Nash emphasised the unique challenges in PNG
“Water management and hydroelectric projects play a crucial role in driving sustainable development. Our focus is on delivering innovative solutions that meet today’s energy needs and pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future for Papua New Guinea.”
———— Matt underscored the importance of water management

Key Takeaways from the Forum


  • Sustainable Development: The forum emphasised the need for businesses to adopt sustainable practices to address climate change. SMEC showcased its commitment to integrating sustainability into its projects, ensuring environmentally sound and socially responsible infrastructure developments.
  • Economic Opportunities Amidst Climate Change: Climate change presents both challenges and opportunities. Investing in renewable energy projects, such as hydroelectric power, can create jobs and promote economic growth while reducing carbon footprints.
  • Geopolitical and ESG Considerations: Discussions highlighted the importance of adapting to the changing geopolitical landscape and incorporating ESG frameworks. SMEC’s expertise positions it as a key player in projects aligning with these priorities.
  • Business and Government Collaboration: The forum stressed the importance of partnerships between the private sector and government entities. SMEC’s participation demonstrated its readiness to work with various stakeholders to support development goals.

SMEC’s contribution as a Platinum Sponsor at the forum reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable engineering and infrastructure development. The active involvement of its delegates highlighted the company’s dedication to tackling climate change challenges and seizing new business opportunities in Papua New Guinea.