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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'.
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.
The Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, on 24 September launched in Sri Lanka the second volume of memoirs by renowned jurist and former Vice President of the International Court of Justice, Judge C. G. Weeramantry, “Towards One World: The Australian Years”.
Speaking on the remarkable life of Judge Weeramantry HE Robyn Mudie said “This memoir covers an extraordinary range of academic and legal achievement. It documents just one chapter of a life lived on a very broad canvas and which has been marked by the ceaseless pursuit of more knowledge, and a commitment to always seeing the bigger picture. Judge Weeramantry has contributed a great deal to both Australia and Sri Lanka, but also to the global legal and academic communities”.
High Commissioner Mudie meets students from Southern Cross Catholic College undertaking community service projects in Sri Lanka
The Australia High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, met a group of students from Southern Cross Catholic College, Queensland, at the High Commission during their visit to Sri Lanka.
The 14 students and eight staff members from the College were in Sri Lanka from 20 September – 1 October to work on community projects with the De La Salle brothers. The students were here as part of their College’s immersion program and assisted the De La Salle Brothers with their services for poor and marginalised communities in Colombo. This was the third year that students of Southern Cross Catholic College have visited Sri Lanka as part of the College’s immersion program.
While speaking to the students about their experience of community engagement in Sri Lanka, High Commissioner Mudie underlined that such visits further strengthen the strong people-to-people links between Australia and Sri Lanka.