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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'.
FRIDAY 25 APRIL 2014
THE AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION WILL HOLD AN
ANZAC DAY COMMEMORATIVE SERVICE
AT THE COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES SECTION OF THE JAWATTE GENERAL CEMETERY, COLOMBO 5 ON
FRIDAY 25 APRIL 2014 AT 5.30 AM.
ALL MEMBERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN, NEW ZEALAND AND COMMONWEALTH COMMUNITY ARE INVITED TO ATTEND.
The latest update from Operation Sovereign Borders reveals more than 16 weeks have passed without a successful people smuggling venture reaching Australia, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
A total of 113 days, or more than 16 weeks, have now passed since the last successful people smuggling venture made it to Australia back on 19 December 2013.
The Government's border protection policies under Operation Sovereign Borders, now in its third phase, remain strong deterrents to people smugglers. Read full media release
The government has fulfilled another election pledge with the removal of taxpayer funded immigration advice and assistance to people who arrived in Australia illegally by boat, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
'From today people who arrived illegally by boat, as well as illegally by air, will no longer receive taxpayer funded immigration advice and assistance under the Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS). This election commitment will save the budget $100 million,' Minister Morrison said today.
'Australia's protection obligations do not extend to providing free immigration advice and assistance to those who arrived in Australia illegally. Read full media release.
Today marks 100 days since the last successful people smuggling venture to Australia.
The last successful people smuggling venture to Australia occurred on 19 December last year. During the same 100 day period a year ago (20 December 2012 – 29 March 2013), 66 illegal boats carrying 3,879 people arrived.
This is the longest period without a successful venture since before the Howard Government’s strong border protection policies were abandoned by Labor and Kevin Rudd in August 2008. Read full media release.
The International Conference on Post Emergency Shelter Reconstruction ‘Restoring Communities through Home-Owner-Driven Reconstruction: from post-Emergency to Development’ was ceremonially inaugurated this morning in Colombo. Organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in partnership with the donor partners, the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka, the Government of Australia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the conference brings together key national and international partners in reconstruction and post-emergency development. Read full media release
The latest weekly update for Operation Sovereign Borders reveals there has not been a successful people smuggling venture to Australia for more than three months, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon. Scott Morrison said today.
More than three months, more than 13 weeks, or 92 days have now passed since the last successful people smuggling venture to Australia. The government's strong border protection policies, particularly maritime operations, are working to prevent the illegal arrival of boats.
The government is doing what we said we would do to stop the boats and we are getting the results we said we would get.Read full media release
HE Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka hosted an event to mark the International Women’s Day at the Australian High Commission, Colombo on 12 March 2014.
Addressing the gathering, HE Mudie said “International Women's Day is an opportunity to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women and consider what we can do to overcome the hurdles which continue to prevent their political, economic and social empowerment. For those here today - decision-makers and influencers - our positions mean that we have a responsibility to those who need our help to remove gender inequality.
“Empowering women and girls is one of the best ways to promote economic growth and better living standards. Australia supports women’s empowerment here in Sri Lanka and in other parts of the world in many different ways but none more important than through education and economic independence.” Read full media release
The Australian Government notes with concern the ruling of the Supreme Court of the Maldives on 9 March 2014 dismissing the Chair and Vice Chair of the Elections Commission, and sentencing the Chair of the Elections Commission to six months in prison, suspended for three years.
In a democracy it is crucially important that constitutionally-established civil institutions, including for election administration, be able to function independently, free from interference, and in accordance with the principle of separation of powers. Read full media release
78 Days Without A Successful People Smuggling Venture - Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
The latest weekly update for Operation Sovereign Borders continues to demonstrate the Government’s full suite of strong border protection policies is stopping illegal boats, with 78 days having now passed since the last successful people smuggling venture to Australia, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
78 days, or more than 11 weeks, since the last successful people smuggling venture, is approaching half the entire time the Coalition Government has now been in office – since the election six months ago. Read full media release.
The latest weekly update for Operation Sovereign Borders reveals there has not been a successful people smuggling venture to Australia for sixty four days, the longest period without a successful venture since before August 2008 when Labor started the boats, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
Operation Sovereign Borders is making progress. The boats have not yet stopped but they are stopping under the Abbott Government with people smugglers on the back foot and arrivals down to levels not experienced since the days of the Howard Government. Read full media release.
Australian Education Week: Australian expert speaks on Maritime Regulation and Enforcement to Sri Lankan government officials
On 17 February, as part of Australian Education Week, Mr Cameron Moore, Senior Lecturer at the School of Law at the University of New England, gave a presentation on the topic of maritime regulation and enforcement to Sri Lankan officials from the Sri Lanka Police Service, Sri Lanka Navy, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department.
Australian Education Week is an annual event that showcases Australian education excellence through an Education Exhibition, Australian alumni awards, school engagement programs, guest lectures and master classes.
Read full media release.
The latest Operation Sovereign Borders weekly update reveals that for 50 days there has not been a single successful people smuggling venture to Australia by boat, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
Operation Sovereign Borders is preventing criminal people smugglers from fulfilling their promise of passage to Australia.
Not only will people seeking to come illegally by boat not be settled in Australia, under the Abbott Government's policies they will not get here. Read full media release
Sri Lankan boat arrivals returned to Colombo
The Australian Government has today successfully returned 45 Sri Lankans who arrived illegally in Australia by boat.
All 45 detainees were screened out of a protection assessment process. Eight of the detainees chose to return voluntarily.
As they had no matters ongoing with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, they were removed. This is consistent with Australia’s obligations. Read full media release
Lowest January Arrivals For Six Years - Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
The latest weekly report for Operation Sovereign Borders confirms illegal boat arrivals for January as the lowest in six years, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
The last illegal boat to have arrived was on December 19, over six weeks ago. Read full media release.
HE Ms Robyn Mudie, Australian High Commissioner, is featured in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s “Our Ambassadors series”. In this interview Ms Mudie discusses the long and enduring relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka. Watch the interview.
More than one Billion Sri Lankan rupees invested in 23 schools in the North
Colombo 28 January 2014 – The Australian Government and UNICEF have inaugurated new buildings for children in four schools located in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.
The restoration work was initiated as part of a more than one billion rupee partnership between Australian Government and UNICEF to help restore education facilities for 10,000 children in 23 schools in the North.
Some of the buildings at the Jayapuram Government Tamil Mixed School in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School, Sillawattai Tamil Vidyalayam in Mullaitivu and Katchilaimadu Maha Vidyalayam in Oddusudan, which were damaged during the conflict, were newly reconstructed to ‘child friendly’ standards.
The government welcomes today's Operation Sovereign Borders weekly update confirming that there have been no persons illegally arriving by boat transferred to our immigration authorities for 36 days.
This is the longest period of no illegal boat arrivals since March of 2009, when arrivals first started to significantly escalate as a consequence of the former Labor Government's decision to abolish the strong border protection regime they inherited from the Howard Government.
In the first 100 days of Operation Sovereign Borders illegal arrivals by boat declined by more than 80 per cent, taking us back to the levels being experienced at the time of the 2010 election. Read full media release.
Australian High Commissioner congratulates Australia Awards recipients of Maldivies
The Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, hosted a reception in the Maldives for the thirty-five recipients of Australia Awards, who will commence bachelors, masters and doctoral level studies in Australia in 2014. The Chief Guest was the Honourable Dr. Aishath Shiham, Minister of Education, who also studied in Australia on an Australian Government scholarship. Other distinguished guests included the Honourable Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Mohamed Anil, Attorney General. The Australia Awards are the Australian Government’s prestigious scholarships and fellowships which build knowledge, education and enduring ties between Australia and its neighbours. The Australia Awards create a global network of leaders committed to social development and economic growth with strong links to Australia.
By-election for the Federal Electoral Division of Griffith
By-election for the Federal Electoral Division of Griffith will be held on Saturday 8 February 2014. Please check the Smartraveller web page about the election for enrolment and voting procedures.
New business travel advice launched
Smartraveller has launched a new website for business travellers. The business travel advice includes information about overseas travel risks that employers and business travellers should consider, and case studies of risk mitigation measures applied for short and long-term overseas travel.
Building pre-schools in the tea plantations
The Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program (DAP) has funded the construction of two pre-schools for plantation sector children in Nuwara Eliya district. The project, worth LKR 1,876,000 was implemented by the Plantation Rural Education and Development Organization (PREDO) at Fordyce Estate and Kirkoswald Estate. Second Secretary Chloe Ashbolt declared the pre-schools open on 8 December 2013.
Education levels for plantation sector children are below the Sri Lankan average. A good pre-school education aims to set the foundation early for a quality education. With these two pre-schools the DAP program has now funded the construction of five pre-schools in the district since 2009. The Australian High Commission has funded many projects under the DAP program to improve education facilities and livelihood development in Sri Lanka’s plantation sector, one of the most disadvantaged in the country.
Providing addresses to 3,000 families
Workers in Sri Lanka’s tea plantations do not have their own addresses.All mail is delivered to the tea estate and then given to workers in an often ad hoc manner. This results in confusion and missed opportunities – people have foregone university placements as they did not receive acceptance letters, people regularly do not receive cheques that are accidently delivered to another person of a similar name, and people regularly do not receive personal and official correspondence.
The Australian High Commission has now supported a pilot project to obtain individual postal addresses for plantation sector employee families in Passara, Badulla district, under the Direct Aid Program (DAP). The project secured addresses for 3,000 families and also initiated a process to obtain National Identity Cards for 500 persons. The project was implemented by the Centre for Policy Alternatives with the help of partner organisation Uva Shakthi Foundation, in association with the Passara Pradeshiya Sabha (local government), the Passara Police and Passara Post Office. The project, worth LKR 2,120,000, also initiated the naming of roads in the area and placed 20 mail collection boxes in the locality.
The Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP today announced the recipients of the Government’s Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships for 2014.
“The Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are internationally competitive scholarships which promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and its neighbours,” Mr Pyne said.
“These scholarships will provide some 476 international recipients with an opportunity to study in Australia and around 150 Australians will be able to further their skills and knowledge overseas.” Read full media release.
You've packed your bathers and towel, you've put your passport in a safe place… But have you thought about taking your medication overseas this Christmas?
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Human Services Minister Senator Marise Payne today reminded Australians travelling overseas with PBS medication this Christmas to do so safely. Read full media release.
The New Colombo Plan 2014 pilot program was launched at Parliament House on 10 December 2013 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Julie Bishop MP, in the presence of the Governor General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, who is Patron of the initiative.
The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia and strengthen people-to-people and institutional relationships, through study and internships undertaken by Australian undergraduate students in the region. Internships will be integral to the New Colombo Plan, with the aim of ensuring students are work ready, have professional connections in the region and can link their study experience directly to career opportunities. Read full media release.
The Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Robyn Mudie, hosted a reception in Colombo last evening to congratulate 38 Sri Lankans who have been offered Australia Awards to undertake post-graduate degrees at Australian universities in 2014.
“Australia has been a long term partner in supporting Sri Lanka to help achieve the national development goals of the country”, said Ms Mudie.
The 38 Australia Awards are valued at approximately AUD 6 million. This represents a significant component of the Australian aid program to Sri Lanka, which focuses on education, sustainable economic development and health. Read full media release.
Australia tougher than ever on illegal boat arrivals
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, today said anti-people smuggling measures the Australian Government had introduced, including a ban on permanent protection visas for people who arrived before July 19 this year, demonstrated the strength of the Government’s resolve. Read full media release - English, Sinhala, Tamil
The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently met with several housing beneficiaries who have received Australian Government assistance through UN-Habitat to rebuild their homes after they were destroyed during the conflict.
“It really is exhilarating to see what the Australian Government and people have been able to do in this country. It’s also particularly exhilarating that we haven’t just been helping; we have been helping Sri Lankan people to help themselves”, Mr Abbott said.
The housing program uses a “home owner-driven” approach which means families are placed at the centre of the rebuilding process and actively take responsibility for their own recovery.
This process has helped revive the local economy as materials and skilled labour are sourced locally and therefore the funds remain within the community. Read full media release.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop recently met with 15 Sri Lankan Australia Awards Scholarship recipients at a reception in Colombo where she congratulated them on their contributions to the development of Sri Lanka since returning from Australia.
The Minister joined the Australia Awards Alumni for an informal meeting at the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka where she was participating in CHOGM. She heard from the Alumni about their experiences, achievements and challenges while studying in Australia under Australian Government-funded scholarships.
Read full media release.
Sri Lanka and Australia have demonstrated their continued commitment to combating people smuggling and transnational crime by holding a workshop for magistrates in Bentota. The workshop was held from 25 to 27 October and was attended by 35 Sri Lankan magistrates. It is the third in a series of workshops delivered to Sri Lankan law and justice officials over the past twelve months.
Acting Secretary of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Justice, Mrs Lakshmi Gunasekera, and Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, H.E Robyn Mudie, opened the workshop, which was co-hosted by the Ministry of Justice and Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department. Read full media release.
High Commissioner Mudie met with Charlton Brown representatives during their visit to Sri Lanka for a community engagement program.
Charlton Brown is an Australian private training and employment agency, which trains and places graduates and qualified staff in employment on areas such as early childhood education and care, aged care, home and community care, youth work, justice studies, disability care and community services work.
The organisation’s Global Linkages program gives students the opportunity to undertake a two to three week practical placement in a community services facility overseas providing support to disadvantaged groups including orphans, young children, the disabled and the aged.
In Sri Lanka, the Global Linkages Program is offered in partnership with the Foundation of Goodness located in Colombo.
The Australian Government has successfully returned every one of the 79 Sri Lankans who arrived illegally in Australia by boat Australia on October 10.
The last six Sri Lankans this week joined the group of 73 who were returned last month after arriving illegally by boat and being screened out of a protection assessment process.
Australia will gift two retired Australian Bay Class patrol boats to assist Sri Lanka’s efforts in combatting people smuggling operations.
The patrol boats are agile and with a range, speed and boarding capability that mean they will be well-suited to enhancing the Sri Lankan Navy’s efforts to disrupt people smuggling ventures.
Australia is providing training with the patrol boats, which will operate alongside the Sri Lankan Navy’s existing capability to intercept people smuggling efforts originating in Sri Lankan waters. Read full media release
The Australian Government has moved quickly to return Sri Lankans who arrived illegally by boat to Australia.
Seventy-three of 79 Sri Lankans who recently arrived illegally by boat have been sent back to Sri Lanka with the remaining six also due to be returned having been screened out of a protection assessment process.
This new, tougher policy implementation by the elected Abbott Government sends a strong message that if you arrive illegally by boat, you will be sent back to Sri Lanka. Read full media release.
Operation Sovereign Borders is the Australian Government’s new military-led border security initiative to stop the boats, to prevent people risking their lives at sea in the hands of criminals, and to preserve the integrity of Australia’s immigration program.
The agreed partnership with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauruan Governments remains active with unauthorised maritime arrivals being sent to PNG or Nauru for processing. The new policy introduces a rapid transfer process where asylum seekers are transferred to either PNG or Nauru within 48 hours of arrival in Australia.
→ please visit the Operation Sovereign Borders website for more information.
High Commissioner meets with Australian volunteers working in Mannar
On 21 October High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, met a team from Diaspora Lanka, who are presently volunteering in Sri Lanka assisting the Mannar Local Council.
Diaspora Lanka is a not for profit group of diaspora members from Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim and Burgher communities in Australia, playing a constructive role in post-conflict development activities. Diaspora Lanka works with the premise that all parties, including diaspora members, have a role to play in rebuilding Sri Lanka. The organisation is presently working in the Mannar district assisting local communities with sustainable livelihoods, business development and, urban planning and reconciliation projects.
Currently a group of ten planners from Australia (urban and social planners, designers and landscape architects) are volunteering with the Mannar Urban Council and the Urban Development Authority to develop a new town plan for Mannar. Other Diaspora Lanka projects in Mannar include: a rice mill to enable war widows earn a daily income; an ICT youth business which aims to computerize Mannar's schools and villages; and an animal welfare program.
The Australian Government provided AUD 1 million (LKR 126 million) to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to support Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Preparedness Plans for the cities of Ratnapura, Batticaloa, Kalmunai and Balangoda.
International Day for Disaster Risk Management was marked by a ceremony, themed “Towards a Sustainable and Resilient City”, held at BMICH on 21 October 2013. During the ceremony the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Preparedness Plans were handed over to the Chief Guest at the event, Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Disaster Management and the Guest of Honour H.E. Robyn Mudie, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
Read full media release.
The Australian Government noted today the announcement of rescheduled election dates in the Maldives.
The international community has been watching developments in the Maldives with concern since the Supreme Court annulled the first round of Presidential Elections on 7 October.
The first round of Presidential Elections on 7 September was judged free and fair by international and domestic observers. Following the annulment, a new first round of Presidential elections was scheduled to be held on 19 October but did not proceed. The Election Commission has now announced that elections will be held on 9 November. Read full media release.
Schoolies and Leavers planning to travel overseas are urged to consult the Smartraveller website for the right advice on staying safe during this year’s celebrations.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today launched its new Smartraveller ‘Schoolies and Leavers’ page, with information and advice about keeping out of harm’s way and alerting young people to potential risks overseas.