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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'.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 Australia was successfully disrupted. The people were returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, 17 February 2015. Continue reading..
OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS DELIVERS SIX MONTHS WITHOUT A SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SMUGGLING VENTURE
Another six months has passed without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia. More than a year ago on 19 December 2013, Operation Sovereign Borders began turning back boats seeking to enter Australia illegally – delivering on a key Coalition election promise.
Up until today 15 ventures with 429 potential illegal immigrants aboard have been intercepted and returned. In 2014 only one people smuggling venture made it to Australia, with all of its passengers transferred to Nauru. Continue reading..
Australian High Commission marks Australia Day
Australia’s High Commissioner Her Excellency Robyn Mudie hosted a reception on 28 January to celebrate Australia Day. The Hon John Amaratunga, Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs, represented the Sri Lankan government at the event. The event was attended by over 650 people and featured an extensive menu showcasing Australian food and wines. Continue reading..
Her Excellency Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner with Hon John Amaratunga, Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs at the Australia Day function held at the High Commissioner’s Residence on 28 January 2015
Australian High Commissioner congratulates Australia Awards recipients
The Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Robyn Mudie, hosted a reception in Male’ on 22 December to congratulate 33 Maldivians who have been offered Australia Awards to study at Australian universities in 2015.
“Australia has been a long term partner in supporting Maldivians to help achieve the national development goals of the Maldives”, said Ms Mudie.
The 33 Australia Awards are valued at approximately AUD 6 million, representing a significant component of Australia’s development assistance program with the Maldives.
The Australian Government invests in education as a force for political and economic reform and good governance.Read full media release
OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS PRESS CONFERENCE
On 17 December, Australian High Commissioner, HE Ms Robyn Mudie, addressed a press conference in Colombo to assure Sri Lankans that the Australian Government’s policy against maritime people smuggling had not changed. Ms Mudie said that, since the introduction of Australia’s toughest ever border protection policy, Operation Sovereign Borders, in 2013, every Sri Lankan boat that had attempted to go to Australia illegally had failed. Ms Mudie and Mr Jose Alvarez, Minister-Counsellor (Immigration) and Regional Director South Asia Region (Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection), responded to questions from journalists. Ms Mudie concluded by reiterating that Sri Lankans should think again before wasting their money or risking their lives based on the lies of people smugglers.
Australian High Commission commemorates the tenth Anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami
This month marks ten years since the Indian Ocean Tsunami struck the coastal areas of eleven countries around the Indian Ocean rim.
At an event held to commemorate the anniversary, Australian High Commissioner, Robyn Mudie, said “The Tsunami was a devastating event which had a devastating impact on the lives of millions, including many Sri Lankans from the south coast to the northern tip of the island”.
On the morning of 26 December 2004, a massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra caused the world’s worst natural disaster in 40 years. The human and physical impact was unprecedented.
More than 35,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives and more than 400,000 coastal villagers were displaced. The tsunami also greatly affected economic activity, particularly fishing, hospitality, small industry, banking, domestic trade and transport.
PEOPLE SMUGGLING VENTURE RETURNED TO SRI LANKA
The Australian Government continues its close cooperation with the Sri Lankan Government to disrupt people smuggling ventures departing Sri Lanka.
On 26 November 2014 a people smuggling venture carrying 38 Sri Lankan nationals attempting to travel illegally by boat to Australia was successfully disrupted.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we are reminded of the horrific acts of violence against women that take place every day – in Australia and across the Pacific, in the
countries of the Indian Ocean Rim and beyond.
Violence against women persists as one of the most heinous and prevalent human rights abuses.
While there is no shortage of good work being done in every country, the statistics remain deeply disturbing, and the impact of violence on individual’s lives and on the well-being of our communities is devastating. Read more..
The Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Robyn Mudie, hosted a reception on 20 November to congratulate 35 Sri Lankans who have been offered Australia Awards to undertake post-graduate degrees at Australian universities in 2015.
“Australia has been a long term partner in supporting Sri Lankans to help achieve the national development goals of the country”, said Ms Mudie.
The 35 Australia Awards are valued at approximately AUD 6 million, representing a significant component of the Australian aid program to Sri Lanka. Read more.
Asylum seekers who registered with UNHCR in Indonesia on or after 1 July 2014 will no longer be eligible for resettlement in Australia, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon. Scott Morrison said today.
Minister Morrison said the change was part of the Government’s ongoing work in the region to strip people smugglers of a product to sell to vulnerable men, women and children.
“While nine of ten months of 2014 have passed without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia, we know smugglers continue to encourage asylum seekers to travel illegally to Indonesia for the purpose of seeking resettlement in Australia,” Minister Morrison said.
Australia will continue to resettle some refugees who registered with UNHCR in Indonesia before 1 July 2014, however there will not be as many places allocated, meaning the waiting period in Indonesia to be resettled in Australia will be much longer.
Minister Morrison said the Government does not support asylum seekers travelling illegally to transit countries in search of more favourable resettlement destinations. Read more..
On the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie said “Today we commemorate 25 years since the world committed to upholding children’s rights. The convention remains important in ensuring every girl and boy can live a healthy life with access to education and without fear of violence, abuse or neglect”.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has four guiding principles: non-discrimination, best interests of the child, right to life, survival and development, and respect for the views of the child.
“Australia takes its obligations under the Convention very seriously, and has made considerable progress in protecting and promoting children’s rights”, Ms Mudie said. Read more..
2014 Victorian State Elections - UPDATE
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Australian High Commission Colombo will now be open for early voting in person from Thursday 20 November to Friday 28 November 2014 between 1000hrs and 1600hrs (weekdays only).
Please visit http://www.vec.vic.gov.au/ for further details about voting in person or applying for a postal vote
Australian Student Visa Information Session on 15 November 2014 in Kandy
The Australian High Commission will be conducting a student visa information session in Kandy on Saturday, 15 November 2014 from 10am to 12pm at the Suisse Hotel, Kandy.
This information session will assist students to better understand the wide range of further study options available to them in Australia, and will provide guidance to them on how to access these opportunities and how to successfully navigate the student visa process. Read more..
This Remembrance Day, Tuesday 11 November, Australians across the nation and around the world will pause at 11am for one minute’s silence to remember the sacrifice of those who have served in our country’s uniform during times of war and conflict.
We remember and pay special tribute to the more than 102,000 Australians who have lost their lives in war, in conflict and on peacekeeping operations. We think, too, of those who returned from the battle fields carrying the scars of their service and the families who care for them.
Our current serving members who are away from their loved ones, are also in our thoughts and we thank them for their service.
2014 Victorian State Elections
The Australian High Commission Colombo will be open for early voting in person from 19 November to 28 November 2014 between 1000hrs and 1600hrs (weekdays only).
Please visit http://www.vec.vic.gov.au/ for further details about voting in person or applying for a postal vote.
Critically-acclaimed Australian film, “Charlie’s Country”, to be screened in Kandy
The Australian High Commission presents the critically-acclaimed Australian film, “Charlie’s Country”, which will be screened at 6.30pm on Thursday, 13 November at the Arts Faculty Theatre of the University of Peradeniya, Kandy. “Charlie’s Country” was first screened in Sri Lanka during the 2014 Colombo International Film Festival.
“Charlie’s Country” stars renowned Australian Indigenous actor, David Gulpilil, who won the Best Actor Award for the film at the Cannes Film Festival. It is directed by Rolf de Heer, of “Ten Canoes” fame. The film tells the story of Charlie, an Aboriginal warrior past his prime, who is navigating the changes to his community’s traditional way of life. He rejects the new way of life and heads into the wild to live in the old way, not realising how much life has changed.
The Australian High Commission is pleased to collaborate with the Arts Faculty of the Peradeniya University to bring another acclaimed Australian film to university students and the community in and around Kandy. The High Commission previously screened the award-winning film “Bran Nue Dae” in 2012 at the Peradeniya University.
Entrance is free and is on a first-come first-served basis. Please call the Australian High Commission on 011 2463200 or 071 8733 760 for more information.
HE Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner, attends official inauguration of Swinburne Campus in Sri Lanka
Her Excellency Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, attended the official inauguration of Swinburne Campus in Sri Lanka, which was inaugurated by Hon S B Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education on 21 October. The inauguration was also attended by several government officials and delegates from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia and key education sector stakeholders.
The collaboration between Nawaloka College of Higher Studies, Sri Lanka and Swinburne College, Australia will provide a study opportunity for aspiring students of Sri Lanka to start their Foundation programs leading up to a Diploma in IT, Business and Engineering in Sri Lanka and complete their bachelor degree at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Read more..
Sri Lankan Sports Journalist Joins Sports Diplomacy International Media Visit to Australia
Mr Daminda Wijesuriya, Sri Lankan newspaper Lankadeepa’s Sports Editor, is one of eight international journalists participating in a Sports Diplomacy International Media Visit to Australia from 20-26 October 2014. The program provides the journalists with comprehensive exposure to Australia’s preparations for the upcoming Cricket World Cup, Commonwealth Games and the Netball World Cup. During the visit, the journalists are meeting relevant officials handling these major sporting events, and learning about Australia’s investment in sports and Australia’s solid foundation as a sporting nation. More..
Mr Daminda Wijesuriya (far right) and other journalists with the Australian Women’s Cricket Team
Australia is helping to develop Sri Lanka’s dairy industry
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) of Australia signed a loan agreement for the second phase of the Dairy Development Project on Friday 10th October 2014. The development project links Australia’s agricultural resources and expertise with the Sri Lankan Government’s desire to increase the nation’s fresh milk supply, reduce reliance on powdered milk imports and, ultimately, become a self-sufficient dairy producer.
Sri Lanka’s National Livestock Development Board, which oversees the project, engaged Australia’s Wellard Rural Exports to supply dairy cattle, infrastructure, equip