The acting High Commissioner of Australia to Sri Lanka Tim Huggins said that Australia’s partnership with Sri Lanka is highly valued and an enduring friendship, based on a long shared history of cooperation as Commonwealth and Indian Ocean nations.
In a speech to mark Australia Day which falls today, Huggins said that Sri Lanka and Australia established diplomatic relations in 1947 and have built strong ties in education, trade and investment, migration, development and, perhaps most importantly, vibrant people to people links.
He said that Australia’s Sri Lankan born community now numbers well over 130 000 and the Sri Lankan community is diverse and includes Sinhalese, Tamils and Burghers and contributes to all aspects of Australian life and enriches the diverse and multicultural society in Australia.
“We are proud to have been a longstanding development partner for Sri Lanka, over more than 60 years. From 2009, Australia has contributed more than $250 million to support Sri Lanka’s economic and social development. As Sri Lanka continues its economic growth and benefits from more trade and investment with other countries, our development cooperation will increasingly focus on attracting trade and investment flows and supporting new businesses in the most remote and poor communities across the country,” he said.
Huggins said Australia looks forward to working with the Sri Lankan government on its economic reform agenda to support further growth and development.
He also said Australia greatly values Sri Lanka’s constructive engagement and support in international fora, including the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
In early January, the Australian High Commission farewelled High Commissioner Robyn Mudie, who served as High Commissioner for four years. In early February, the High Commission will welcome its new High Commissioner, Bryce Hutchesson, who Huggins says is committed to strengthening the friendship between the two nations in the years to come. (Colombo Gazette)