Victoria open to Silk Road plan: Premier

The Victorian premier sees opportunities for urban planners, builders, engineers and universities under China's new Silk Road plan.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is open to potentially linking up state infrastructure projects to China's ambitious new Silk Road plan.

Mr Andrews was the only Australian premier to attend the Chinese government's One Belt One Road international forum in Beijing earlier this week, along with 30 world leaders and representatives from around 100 countries.

One Belt One Road is a vast Chinese infrastructure plan to connect China via the ancient Silk Road land route and sea routes with Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe in a bid to boost trade and economic growth while cutting transit time for goods.

It's open to all countries, not just those physically on the ancient trade routes.

At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged an extra $US124 billion ($A168 billion) on top of the $US1.3 trillion ($A1.8 trillion) worth of projects already in the pipeline.

Australia is yet to sign up for the initiative unlike New Zealand and 67 other nations.

Federal Trade Minister Steve Ciobo also attended the forum and although he sees some merit remains cautious.

He said there were "complementarities" between his government's plans to develop northern Australia and China's initiative but he emphasised they were "separate".

Mr Andrews said he saw many good reasons for Australia to be more involved in the scheme but said that was a matter for the federal government.

Asked if he was open to Victorian projects being funded under the One Belt One Road plan he said: "there's always an option".

"We very much welcome international partners and direct foreign investment to get the job done," he told AAP from Hong Kong during his four day visit to China.

"We think there are great opportunities."

The premier said Australia's free trade deal with China was in its infancy and companies and governments needed to work harder than ever to make the most of it.

"It's one thing to remove barriers, it's another to go out there and sell our products, expertise, knowledge ... and make sure we take full advantage of every single element of the free trade agreement," he said.

* Lisa Martin travelled to Beijing to attend the One Belt One Road Forum as a guest of the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.

Source AAP

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