High Commissioner's Welcome
Welcome to the website of the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka. I hope you will find this website useful and informative.
The site includes a wide range of information about the High Commission’s role and responsibilities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Australia has been a close friend and partner of Sri Lanka since before independence. We have a diverse and strong relationship across many areas. Australia is also a major donor of development assistance to Sri Lanka.
I recommend that all Australian citizens and permanent residents in Sri Lanka and the Maldives register with the Australian Government through Smartraveller at www.smartraveller.gov.au. Registering is simple and beneficial. It means we can find you in an emergency, and we can also relay important information to you about elections, new travel advisories and other developments.
Registration must be self-motivated. There is no automatic registration when you get a passport, a visa or a job in Sri Lanka or Maldives. Long term residents should regularly check to see if their registration is current.
I also recommend that all Australians travelling or living in Sri Lanka or the Maldives regularly check the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advice. This Advice can be found through the link on our site under 'Services for Australians'.
You can also follow the High Commission's work on Facebook and Twitter:
Australian High Commissioner
A Night of Music
A Night of Music with Slava Grigoryan and Sharon Draper
The Australian High Commission is proud to present two of Australia’s leading classical musicians in a free concert to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Australia-Sri Lanka bilateral relations, at Bishop’s College Auditorium at 7pm on 24 January 2017.
Australian Ambassador congratulates Australia Awards recipients
Australian Ambassador to Maldives Bryce Hutchesson hosted a reception in Malé on 23 November to congratulate 16 Maldivians who have been offered Australia Awards scholarships to study at Australian universities in 2017.
The recipients will undertake master’s degrees at Australia’s top universities in the fields of economic development, education, environmental management and good governance.
Australia and Sri Lanka – a long and rich history
2017 marks a special moment in Australia and Sri Lanka’s long shared history – 70 years of official diplomatic relations.
Australia was one of the first countries to establish such ties, pre-dating Sri Lanka’s independence. Australia’s first diplomat to Sri Lanka, Trade Commissioner Charles Frost, arrived in Colombo in April 1947. He was accredited as High Commissioner following independence the next year.
Australia and Sri Lanka share individual and institutional connections that span almost every part of our societies. A large and vibrant Sri Lankan-origin community – drawn from all ethnicities – significantly enriches Australia’s multicultural life.
Australia’s borders are stronger than ever
The success of Operation Sovereign Borders in stopping the flow of people smuggling boats to Australia means our borders are now stronger than ever. The recent reinforcement of our maritime assets and surveillance capabilities will ensure that any boats that attempt to come to Australia in the future will be intercepted and turned back. Since OSB commenced more than 740 people from 29 people smuggling vessels have been intercepted and turned back to their country of departure.
Australia and Sri Lanka’s longstanding partnership in education
Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson hosted a lunch at Australia House on 10 November to celebrate the longstanding education links between Australia and Sri Lanka, particularly through provision of Australian Government-funded scholarships.
Students from the early days of the Colombo Plan who had travelled to study in Australia joined more recent scholars of the Australia Awards program, including one new awardee who will commence studies in Australia in January 2017. Colombo Plan President Ambassador Chang Won-Sam of the Republic of Korea and Colombo Plan Secretariat Senior Program Officer Dr Thomas Scaria, representing the Colombo Plan Secretary General, also attended the lunch.
Australian Government supports learning event in Kandy on safe sanitation for all
More than 70 representatives at a regional event sponsored by the Australian Government in Kandy will explore the question of how to move communities towards achieving the UN target of sanitation for all.
Participants arrived on 8 November from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia to discuss innovations in water and sanitation technology and service delivery. Participants are involved in implementing projects under the Australian Government’s Civil Society WASH Fund, which is an A$103 million initiative that is helping to increase poor people’s access to water and sanitation services in 19 countries across Asia, as well as Africa and the Pacific.
Australian High Commissioner congratulates Australia Awards recipients
Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson hosted a reception in Colombo on 2 November to congratulate 30 Sri Lankans who have been offered Australia Awards scholarships to study at Australian universities in 2017.
The recipients will undertake master’s degrees at Australia’s top universities in the fields of economic development, gender equality and governance.
Maldives’ withdrawal from the Commonwealth - Statement by Hon. Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Australian Government is disappointed the Maldives has decided to renounce its membership of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth plays an important role in assisting its members to advance development, build democracy, strengthen the rule of law and at times manage difficult political situations.
Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls launches new program to support women in local government
Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM, today launched an Australian-funded program to support the new quota for female representation in local government. “Supporting women in leadership is a priority for Australia, in our foreign policy and overseas aid program”, said Ambassador Stott Despoja during her first formal visit to Sri Lanka.
More Australian students to study in Sri Lanka
100 Australian undergraduate students will study and undertake work placements in Sri Lanka in 2017 through the Australian Government’s flagship New Colombo Plan education program.
Australian High Commissioner visits the Southern Province
The Australian High Commissioner, Mr Bryce Hutchesson, visited the Southern Province from 17 to 19 August 2016 and met with government and business interlocutors and visited Sri Lankan Government infrastructure projects and Australian Government-supported development projects. In Hambantota, Mr Hutchesson toured the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, the International Convention Centre and the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port. He had productive discussions on the economic and development situation with Hambantota District Secretary Mr W H Karunaratne and the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce. Mr Hutchesson heard about the excellent work the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce has done with two Australian Management Advisers, funded through the Australian Volunteers for International Development program. The Forestry Department briefed Mr Hutchesson on the Community Forestry Program, funded by Australia. Mr Hutchesson also visited a National Livestock Development Board farm at Ridiyagama, home to 2500 Australian dairy cattle managed jointly by Australian company Wellard. Wellard has supplied dairy cattle, infrastructure, equipment and management to Sri Lanka.
Lachlan Smart – Wings around the World arrives in Sri Lanka.
We’re proud to announce the arrival in Sri Lanka of an exceptional young Australian, Lachlan Smart. Lachlan is attempting to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft. This is the first time that an 18 year old has attempted an aviation journey of this magnitude. Full media release
Photographs from http://www.wingsaroundtheworld.com.au/
The Australian High Commission notes with concern the Defamation and Freedom of Expression Bill put to the People's
Majlis in the Republic of Maldives on 1 August. Full media release
Notice for Consular and Passport Clients
Please note notarial, passport interview & passport collection services will not be available on Thursday, 21 July 2016. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused. Alternative arrangements can be made by contacting +94112463232 or +94112463200.
A Taste of Australia – an evening with celebrity chef Adam D’Sylva
Australian celebrity chef Adam D’Sylva, head chef and owner of leading Melbourne restaurants Coda and Tonka, will host ‘A Taste of Australia’ at the Australian Residence on 30 June. The event will showcase the best in Australian food and wine exports to Sri Lanka, curated by one of Australia’s most talented chefs.
Chef D’Sylva will prepare a tailored menu featuring both Australian and Sri Lankan ingredients, demonstrating the interesting culinary synergies between the two cuisines. The event will help to highlight the growing opportunities for Australian food and wine exports in Sri Lanka, including in the increasingly important tourism sector.
The Australian High Commission gratefully acknowledges the support of our sponsors for the event, including the Kingsbury Hotel, the State Government of Victoria, Qantas Airways, Wickramaratne International, Accolade Wines, Angoves Estates, Australian Vintage Limited, Sandalford Wines, and Treasury Estates,
Australian Federal Election 2016
The Australian federal election will be held on Saturday 2 July 2016. It is now too late to enrol to vote for this election.
Online applications for a postal vote (for those already registered to vote) are available on the AEC website at www.aec.gov.au. Your application for a postal vote must be received by the AEC by 29 June 2016.
The Australian High Commission Colombo will be open for in person pre-poll voting on weekdays from 9am – 4pm commencing Monday 20 June until Friday 1 July 2016.
The High Commission will not be open for voting on Election Day - Saturday 2 July 2016. You will be asked for the address at which you are enrolled to vote on the issuing of ballot papers.
In order to be granted access the Australian High Commission to vote in person you will need to bring your current Australian passport as identification. There are no exceptions to this policy.
For further information and updates, please check the Australian Electoral Commission website (www.aec.gov.au), the Australian High Commission website (www.srilanka.embassy.gov.au), our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AustraliainSriLankaandMaldives) and our Twitter account (@AusHCSriLanka).
Anzac Day 2016
ANZAC Day 2016 will be commemorated in Sri Lanka with a dawn service commencing at 5.30 am on Monday 25 April at the Great War Cross of Sacrifice - Borella Cemetery. All are invited to attend. Please be in place by 5.20 am.
This year marks the centenary of the Somme. Almost 300,000 Australians served on the Western Front in France and Flanders, taking part in every major British offensive between 1916 and the Armistice in 1918. More than 48,000 lost their lives, of whom some 18,000 have no known grave. On the day of the Battle of Fromelles, these eight men of the 53rd Battalion prepared to take part in an attack that only three of them would survive. Lest we forget.
AUSTRALIA'S BORDER PROTECTION MEASURES REMAIN IN FORCE
The Australian Government’s tough border protection measures to stop illegal people smuggling and ensure the sovereignty of Australia’s borders remain in full force. Read full media release in English, Sinhala, Tamil
Australian High Commissioner: “Including women is simply smart economics”
The Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Robyn Mudie, was the Chief Guest at the inaugural “power lunch” held for members of the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) on 26 November.The WCIC aims to incorporate women entrepreneurs into the main stream of business activity in the country. The power lunch was the first of a series of meetings with business leaders, policy makers and the diplomatic community which the Chamber plans to run on a regular basis.
Conference on Maternal and Child Nutrition: Effective Delivery through Evidence and Innovation
The Australian High Commission was proud to be the major sponsor of the International Maternal and Child Nutrition Conference with our close partners, the Government of Sri Lanka, UNICEF and the South Asia Infant Feeding Research Network. The two-day event was attended by over 230 experts from Australia and the countries of South Asia. The keynote presentation was given by Professor Subramanian of the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. The Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, was the Chief Guest at the official opening reception on 23 November.
Australian High Commissioner speaks on the continuing importance of International Humanitarian Law
Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, was Chief Guest today (4 November) at the opening of the Advanced Seminar on International Humanitarian Law for members of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, jointly organised by the Faculty of Law of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Australian High Commissioner visits the Eastern Province
Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie,visited Eastern Province from 28 to 30 October to discuss Australia’s ongoing development assistance program with national and provincial counterparts and other partners. The High Commissioner met the Governor of Eastern Province, the Honourable Austin Fernando, Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Nazeer and other local officials. She reiterated Australia’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka’s economic development and to contributing to Sri Lanka’s reconciliation efforts.
Operation Sovereign Borders: Fact Sheets
The Australian Government has tough border protection controls to protect its borders and combat people smuggling. For more information, please see the attached Fact Sheets (English) (Sinhala) (Tamil)
Notice for Consular and passport clients
Please note notarial, passport interview & passport collection services will not be available on Thursday, 22 October 2015. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused. Alternative arrangements can be made by contacting +94112463232 or +94112463200.
Australian High Commissioner observes Swim for Safety training at Otter’s Club
The Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Robyn Mudie, visited the Otter’s Club yesterday to observe Swim for Safety training of 27 swim coaches from around the country. The training is sponsored by the Australian Government through the Australia Awards Program.
A team of water safety experts from Life Saving Victoria and YMCA Victoria developed the Swim for Safety Program. The program will be implemented across Sri Lanka to over 1000 people, predominantly children, over the coming months.
No change to Australia’s policy against maritime people smuggling
28 September 2015
Australian High Commissioner HE Robyn Mudie has confirmed today that the Australian Government’s policy against maritime people smuggling is clear and unchanged – the way to Australia is closed. Australia, under new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, remains committed to protecting its borders and will continue to stop anyone who attempts to come illegally by boat – regardless of where they are from. Read full media release
Media Release from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP
27 September 2015
Australia is pleased to co-sponsor the resolution supporting reconciliation, human rights and accountability in Sri Lanka tabled in the UN Human Rights Council on 24 September.
We note the serious findings of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights investigation on Sri Lanka, particularly that war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed by both sides to Sri Lanka’s civil conflict.
Australia welcomes the Sri Lankan Government’s co-sponsorship of the resolution and its commitment to establish independent mechanisms for truth seeking, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.
If effectively implemented, these mechanisms will provide Sri Lanka with a platform to achieve genuine reconciliation.
Australia remains committed to supporting a stable and prosperous Sri Lanka. We stand ready to assist as Sri Lanka heals the wounds of the past and looks forward to a secure and prosperous future for all its citizens.
Media Release from the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Hon Peter Dutton MP
25 September 2015
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection the Hon Peter Dutton MP today reaffirmed that the Operation Sovereign Borders policy has not changed or softened against the backdrop of our humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis or the change in Prime Minister.
Message from the Prime Minister - Eid ul-Adha 2015
24 September 2015
I send my warm greetings to Muslims in Australia and all around the world who are celebrating Eid ul-Adha and performing the Hajj this year.
Muslim Australians are among the millions of pilgrims undertaking the annual Hajj, which honours the sacrifice and devotion of Abraham and serves as a reminder of the shared Abrahamic roots of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
During the Eid ul-Adha holiday, Muslims of all ages and backgrounds commemorate the prophethood of Abraham through acts of charity and praying for those in need.
Australia is the most successful and harmonious multicultural society in the world.The Australian Muslim community plays an important role in strengthening our diverse social fabric.
I send my best wishes to everyone celebrating Eid ul-Adha.
Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mabrour.
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister of Australia
24 September 2015
Australia and Sri Lanka - A strong and enduring partnership
HE Robyn Mudie addressed the inaugural gathering of the Sri Lanka Australia Awards Alumni Association (SLAAAA) at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute on 27 August 2015. In her address, titled ‘Australia and Sri Lanka – a strong and enduring partnership’, High Commissioner Mudie spoke to the close and longstanding relationship between our two countries, emphasising that ‘Australia and Sri Lanka are more than just partners, we are friends and partners, bound together by numerous and diverse ties which go back a very long way’.
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS - The Hon Julie Bishop MP
21 August 2015
SRI LANKA: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
I congratulate Sri Lankan Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on his re-election, following the peaceful and orderly parliamentary elections on 17 August 2015.
We look forward to working with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s government to further develop our strong bilateral relationship and to address shared regional and global challenges.
Australia has a close and long-standing bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka. We are working closely with Sri Lanka to grow trade and investment and increase cooperation on security and transitional crime, particularly countering people smuggling.
We will continue to support Sri Lanka as it makes progress on national reconciliation.
A by-election for the federal electoral Division of Canning in Western Australia will be held on 19 September
You can check if you are enrolled in the Division of Canning, enrol or update your enrolment details at www.aec.gov.au/enrol. The deadline to enrol is 8pm AWST Monday, 24 August 2015.
In-person voting will not be available outside of Australia for this by-election. If you will be overseas on by-election day, you can apply for a postal vote or you can vote in person in Australia before you go.
To apply for a postal vote visit www.aec.gov.au/canning/pva. You should ensure that you apply for a postal vote as soon as possible to allow enough time for the ballot papers to reach you overseas before election day.
For more information, visit the AEC website at www.aec.gov.au/canning/ or contact the AEC via email (email@example.com) or telephone +61 2 6160 2600.
Passing of the Hon Don Randall MP
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of the Hon Don Randall MP on 21 July 2015. As chair of the Australia-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group since its inception, Mr Randall was a longstanding friend of Sri Lanka, visiting the country many times and developing strong ties with the Sri Lankan people.
Speaking in Parliament on 10 August, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop noted that Mr Randall ‘cared deeply for the people of Sri Lanka…he loved Sri Lanka and was loved in return’. Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison highlighted that Mr Randall was a passionate advocate who ‘wanted the best for Sri Lanka’, so much so that he was known here as “Mr Sri Lanka”. We would like to thank the Sri Lankan government and Mr Randall’s friends and colleagues in Sri Lanka who have contacted the High Commission to express their condolences. The High Commission would also like to express our condolences to Mr Randall’s family and friends, both in Australia and in Sri Lanka.
Robyn Mudie meets with Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Kolitha Gunatilleke, and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne
Australian High Commissioner HE Robyn Mudie and Defence Adviser Captain Jason Sears recently called on the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Kolitha Gunatilleke, and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, to congratulate the officers on their recent appointments. The meetings were also useful opportunities to discuss the ongoing cooperation between Australia and Sri Lanka to counter people smuggling and the growing relationship in defence cooperation between the two nations.
HE Robyn Mudie, Captain Jason Sears and Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Kolitha Gunatilleke discussing ongoing cooperation between Australia and Sri Lanka.
HE Robyn Mudie at a meeting to congratulate the newly appointed Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne
Overseas Application Fee Schedule
An ‘Overseas Application Fee’ will be applied to passport applications lodged overseas on or after 1 July 2015.The fee for adult (including senior) applications will be $100 and for child applications will be $50. Please note that the payment method is in Sri Lankan rupees and will be accepted in cash. The fee will not apply to emergency passport applications.
The Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, and the Sri Lankan Conservator General of Forests, Mr Anura Sathurusinghe, marked World Environment Day with a ceremonial planting of two Sri Lankan trees, an Ebony and a Na, at the official Australian residence in Colombo on 10 June. Continue reading.
Australian cattle supporting Sri Lankan dairy industry
One of Australia’s largest live cattle exporters – Wellard Rural Exports Pty Ltd has been working in partnership with the National Live Stock Development Board (NLDB) of Sri Lanka to supply dairy cows and build new infrastructure that caters to a well-managed large scale dairy farm. The project links Australia’s agricultural resources and expertise with Sri Lankan Government’s desire to increase the nation’s fresh milk supply and, ultimately, become self-sufficient dairy producer.
In 2008 the Australian Trade Commission, Austrade, initiated a multi-year project with one of Australia’s largest live cattle exporters – Wellard Rural Exports Pty Ltd and National Live Stock Development Board (NLDB) of Sri Lanka to supply dairy cows.
In phase one of the development project, Wellard supplied 2000 dairy cows to three farms in Bopathalawa in addition to building farm infrastructure and dairy equipment. The results from phase one has been impressive. At the dairy farms in Bopathalawa, the average yields have increased from 3 litres per cow to closer to Australia’s average of 26 litres.
Under phase two of the project, in an agreement worth USD 21million, Wellard will supply a further 2500 dairy cattle as well as infrastructure to a farm in Ridiyagama in Southern Sri Lanka.
On 20 May 2015, Austrade hosted a seminar to brief existing and potential partners and stakeholders on the success of the project so far and to encourage further collaboration, in particular the development of linkages to small scale dairy farmers around the country.
Addressing the seminar, Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie said that the project was an excellent example of the strong collaboration between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Chairman of NLDB – Professor H.A.W Cyril and Mr Johann Wasserman – Technical dairy advisor and International Project Manager of Wellard rural Exports Pty Ltd. outlined the state of the dairy industry, and highlighted the state of the art technology, feed production and management involved in the project - all of which have contributed to the outstanding results so far.
The High Commissioner said that the flow on effects to the economy and to the supply of fresh milk around the country have already been significant. Developing a fully integrated dairy industry will have multiple benefits for Sri Lanka. It will strengthen Sri Lanka’s food security in dairy with increased local production. It will also create significant rural employment opportunities by encouraging the rural workforce to participate in the entire value chain of the dairy industry from planting crops and supply of fodder, dairy farming, milking, and collection to finding employment in sophisticated factories that would produce dairy products.
Another month has passed without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia under Operation Sovereign Borders.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said that there has been no successful arrival in Australia since June last year – over 10 months ago – and the Government is committed to keeping it that way.
This Government’s tough border protection policies have acted as a strong deterrent for people smugglers trying to fill boats.
“We remain committed to returning boats that try to reach our shores illegally by turning them back where it’s safe to do so,” Mr Dutton said.
This Saturday, 25 April, marks the centenary anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at Gallipoli in the First World War. Australians and New Zealanders around the world will gather to pay tribute to those brave men and women who have served their country in war, conflict and peace operations, including those who fought and lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign.
In Colombo, the Australian High Commissioner HE Robyn Mudie will host the traditional Anzac Day dawn service, from 5.30am at the Commonwealth War Graves Section of the Jawatte Cemetery, Torrington Avenue, Colombo 5.
The High Commissioner also invites those interested to attend a dusk service and wreath laying ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Section of Kanatta General Cemetery, Borella, Colombo 8, where several veterans from the Gallipoli campaign are laid to rest. The dusk service will commence at 5:30 pm.
Conviction of Maldivian Former President
The Australian Government is concerned by the sentencing of former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years imprisonment on 13 March 2015. Australia has been following Mr Nasheed’s case closely since his arrest on 22 February. Australia’s High Commissioner to the Maldives raised concerns about the application of due legal process directly with the Maldivian Government and continues to monitor the situation closely.
Empowering Women: More Work To Be Done - Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls
This year is a milestone International Women’s Day and a special year for the international women’s movement.
Twenty years ago, an unprecedented 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists arrived in Beijing for the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Women. They had a clear purpose: gender equality and the empowerment of women, everywhere.
They produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which was adopted unanimously by 189 countries. It was a high point for international cooperation to secure commitments in language and intention for women’s rights.
Statement on the Maldives
The Australian Government notes with concern the recent civil unrest in the Maldives following the arrest on 22 February 2015 of the opposition figure and former President Mohamed Nasheed. Australia encourages all parties to exercise restraint, act in accordance with the rule of law and resolve differences peacefully.
PEOPLE SMUGGLING VENTURE RETURNED TO SRI LANKA
The Australian and Sri Lankan Governments continue to work closely to disrupt the dangerous and illegal activity of people smuggling.
On Monday, 9 February 2015 a people smuggling venture carrying four Sri Lankan nationals attempting to travel illegally by boat to Aust