Australian High Commissioner, Robyn Mudie, said that Australia supported the government’s democratic reform and good governance agenda and would continue to encourage the Sri Lankan government to maintain its commitment to this agenda, to the improvement of human rights, to meaningful progress on reconciliation, including accountability, and to continued engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including the diaspora.
She said this while giving a guest lecture at an event organised by the Sri Lanka Association of Australia Awards Alumni at the Lakshman Kadirgamir Institute, the Australian High Commission said today.
High Commissioner Mudie’s lecture focused on the strong and enduring partnership and friendship between Australia and Sri Lanka, and the future direction of that partnership, particularly in relation to development, trade and investment and the Australian Government’s practical support to the reconciliation process. She noted the importance of the strong people to people links between the two countries, which began as far back as the days of sea travel via Colombo in the eighteenth century.
The High Commissioner said that Australia’s practical contribution to inclusive development and growth, which commenced in the 1950s, would “continue to focus on helping to ensure that Sri Lanka’s prosperity is shared by all its people.” She added that Australia’s development cooperation was increasingly focused on attracting trade and investment flows and supporting new businesses in the most remote and poor communities across the country, including through the creation of equitable partnerships between local communities and the private sector.
High Commissioner Mudie said that bilateral trade and investment had grown significantly, with an 18% increase in two way trade from 2013 to 2014 and there was great potential for more growth in our two way investment relationship. She noted that education continues to be a strong part of the relationship, with around 6000 Sri Lankans currently studying in Australia and further growth of on-shore education provision, including the opening of the Swinburne Nawaloka College in October 2014.
High Commissioner Mudie said that combating the insidious crime of people smuggling remained a very high priority for the Australian Government. “We continue to value greatly the strong cooperation we enjoy with the Sri Lankan government in this area,” she said. (Colombo Gazette)