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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'.
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.
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.
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, equipment and management with a view to increasing the size of the national dairy herd and raising the daily average yield from four litres of milk per cow to a number nearer Australia’s 26 litres.
Australia Grants Rs 10 million for Sanitation Facilities in Resettled Villages in Mannar
The Australian High Commission recently handed over 44 newly built toilets to beneficiaries in resettled villages in Manthai West, Mannar. The High Commission has to-date built 160 toilets in Manthai West for resettled villages in both Tamil and Muslim areas at a total value of Rs 10 million.
The project was part of the Direct Aid Program, the Australian Government’s small grants scheme, which provides fast, high-impact development needs to grass roots communities.
Speaking at the handover, Second Secretary Chloe Ashbolt said, “We are pleased to fund the construction of such critical infrastructure for the resettled families of Mannar. Australia takes pride in the Direct Aid Program as it allows us to provide practical, tangible benefits directly to disadvantaged communities that urgently need assistance".
The project was implemented through three Mannar based community organisations: Rural Development Foundation; Caritas Valvuthayam Mannar and Mannar Association for Relief and Rehabilitation.
The Direct Aid Program is available on a not-for-profit basis to community groups and encourages community participation in identification, design and implementation of projects. DAP provides support in the areas of health and sanitation, education and vocational training, income generation, small scale infrastructure for rural communities, women’s empowerment and post war recovery. In the 2013-2014 financial year, Australia granted Rs 27 million in grants under the Direct Aid Program.
Increasing Awareness of Drowning prevention and Water Safety
The Life Saving Association of Victoria, Australia, together with the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka has initiated a campaign to raise awareness of water safety to prevent drowning. The initiative is supported by the World Health Organization.
In Sri Lanka more than 1,200 people drown in each year. With the help from Australian lifesavers and drowning prevention specialists, there is a goal to halve this number by 2017.
Australian High Commissioner HE Robyn Mudie was the Chief Guest at a 1 October event held at Water’s Edge, Battaramulla, by the Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka to introduce the inaugural Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Report for Sri Lanka, to be launched later this year.
High Commissioner meets Rotary representatives
On 1 October, Australian High Commissioner Robyn Mudie met representatives of the Rotary Australia World Community Service, who were visiting Sri Lanka and Maldives to monitor and evaluate a number of projects supported by Rotary.
In Sri Lanka Rotary is currently supporting projects in Anuradhapura (construction of post operative care facilities for renal patients), Batticaloa (support for the upgrade of the Emergency Trauma Centre at Batticaloa Hospital) and Biyagama (IT Education for Destitute Children).
In Maldives, Rotary is providing ongoing support to two water desalination projects located in Keyadhoo and Dhigura islands. They are also exploring opportunities to support women’s empowerment through community based projects in the coming years.
High Commissioner Mudie expressed her appreciation for the important humanitarian work being carried out by Rotary in Sri Lanka which was supporting the continuing process of reconstruction and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, as well as its ongoing development. The High Commissioner said that the work being carried out by Rotary was also contributing to the strong relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie with members of the Rotary World Community Service, South Australia district. From left, Mr Geoff Ellershaw, Chairman-National Marketing & Promotions RAWCS , Mr Gehan Siribaddana, Past District Governor, Rotary District 3220 – Sri Lanka and Maldives, Ms Roberta Waterman, Past District Governor, Rotary District 9520 South Australia, Mrs Joy Will and Mr Don Will Past President Rotary Club of Eastwood,.
Australian Direct Aid Program Call for Applications
The Australian government’s small grants program, the Direct Aid Program (DAP), is now open for applications. The DAP is aimed at grassroots level development focussing on issues such as health and sanitation, education and vocational training, income generation, small scale infrastructure for rural communities, women’s empowerment and post war recovery .
DAP grants are available on a not for profit basis to legally registered community based organisations for projects that are designed with the community’s involvement. Local government authorities are also eligible to apply. DAP has supported hundreds of projects over the years to help transform marginalised communities by providing immediate development needs.
Applications for funding can be sought by submitting a completed DAP application form along with supporting documents. There is no deadline for submission; however proposals submitted by 31 October 2014 will be evaluated for the funding round taking place in December 2014. The following round of funding will take place in April 2015.
The DAP guidelines and application form can be downloaded from the Australian High Commission website www.srilanka.embassy.gov.au or by calling the Australian High Commission on 0112463200.
UN-Habitat Launches Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness Plans for Four Cities in the North and East with Funding from the Government of Australia.
On 15 September 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN- Habitat), in partnership with the Municipal Council of Akkaraipattu, Urban Councils of Vavuniya and Mannar and the Pradeshiya Sabha of Maritimepattu (Mullaitivu), officially launched the Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness Plan for each City at the Water’s Edge in Battaramulla today. These Plans have been developed with funding from the Government of Australia. The DRR Plans were officially handed over to the Chief Guest, Hon. Duleep Wijesekera, Deputy Minister of Disaster Management, the Guest of Honour, Ms.Sonya Koppe, the Deputy Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, and Mr.Nihal Fernando, Deputy
Director General of the Urban Development Authority by UN-Habitat and the representatives of the Municipal Council of Akkaraipattu, UrbanCouncils of Mannar and Vavuniya and the Pradeshiya Sabha of Maritimepattu. Speaking at the launch, Ms.Koppe said “Australia understands the devastating impact that natural disasters can cause. We recognise that every dollar invested in preparation and planning can save a dollar and possibly much more in emergency response, rebuilding and recovery, as well as saving lives and protecting human health." Continue reading...
Australian Federal Police conduct Criminal Asset Confiscation and Financial Investigations Symposium
The Australian Federal Police conducted a Criminal Asset Confiscation and Financial Investigations Symposium at the Institute for Security and Law Enforcement Studies in the Maldives between 9 and 11 September 2014. 35 representatives from the Maldives Police Service, Anti-Corruption Commission, Auditor General’s Office, Bank of Maldives, Prosecutor General’s Office, Maldives Monetary Authority and the Capital Market Development Authority participated in the symposium. Continue reading..
Australian university representatives and heads of schools in Sri Lanka meet in Colombo
The Australian Government organised the inaugural networking event to welcome representatives from Australian universities and heads of schools from international, government and private schools in Sri Lanka. The event was aimed at facilitating the establishment of links and creating avenues for greater engagement and collaboration between Australian universities and Sri Lankan schools.
The Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, was Chief Guest at the event. Also in attendance were Mr Sanath Jayalath, Assistant Director of National Schools, Ministry of Education, Dr Harsha Alles, President and Dr Frank Jayasinghe and Founder President of the International Schools of Sri Lanka.
The Australian Government is committed to promoting higher education opportunities in Australia within the schools sector in Sri Lanka and strives to offer best possible platform for local students seeking guidance to interact with Australian education providers. continue reading...
Critically-acclaimed Australian film, “Charlie’s Country”, to be screened at the International Film Festival Colombo
The Australian High Commission and the International Film Festival of Colombo are presenting the critically-acclaimed Australian film, "Charlie’s Country”, as an official selection at the festival. The film will be screened at 4pm on Saturday, 6 September at the National Film Corporation Cinema Hall in Colombo 7.
“Charlie’s Country” stars renowned Australian Indigenous actor, David Gulpilil, who won the Best Actor Award for the film at the Cannes Film Festival and 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 increasing government stranglehold over 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 International Film Festival of Colombo to bring another acclaimed Australian film to Sri Lankan audiences. The High Commission previously screened the award-winning “Bran Nue Day” in 2012 and “Satellite Boy” in 2013.
Entry is free and is on a first-come first-served basis. Please call the Australian High Commission on 011 2463200 for more information.
Welcome Home Event in Maldives for Australia Awardees
Australia Awards Office Maldives hosted a Welcome Home Event at Mookai Hotel in Male’ on 3 September 2014 for Australia Awards Scholarship recipients who successfully completed their studies and returned home to the Maldives over the last 8 months. The event was attended by Mr Edward Archibald, Counsellor, Development Cooperation, Sri Lanka and Maldives at the Australian High Commission in Colombo. Eighteen returning scholars and four alumni of Australian government scholarships, including Ms Khadeeja Adam, Commissioner, Civil Service Commission, also attended. The event was held in the form of a round table discussion, firstly to congratulate the new alumni on the successful completion of their studies, and secondly for alumni to share their experiences in returning to the Maldives and applying the knowledge, skills and connections gained in Australia to the development of Maldives. Discussion was wide-ranging and rich in experiences, examples and practical advice, and demonstrated the passion all attendees have for the development of their country.
A group of Australia Awardees met with Mr Edward Archibald, Counsellor, Development Cooperation at the Australian High Commission in Colombo and four alumni of Australian government scholarships, including Ms Khadeeja Adam, Commissioner, Civil Service Commission at a round table discussion held in Male’.
Mr Edward Archibald, Counsellor, Development Cooperation at the Australian High Commission in Colombo participating in the round table discussion held in Male’ for retuning Australia Awardees.
The Australian High Commission Staff held a Charity Sale on 27-28 August 2014
Staff members cleared out their wardrobes, bookshelves and cupboards, boxed up all the items they never use but had been keeping ‘just in case’ and brought them to the Australian High Commission to raise money for charity.
Staff enjoyed finding some bargains while supporting a great cause.
The Charity Sale was a huge success and raised over LKR 40,000 for charities supporting children’s education.
The Charity Sale was the inaugural event run by the Australian High Commission Staff Charity Committee. The Committee plans to continue holding monthly events to raise money for worthy causes, with a particular focus on children’s education.
The Government of Australia and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) hand over community infrastructure facilities to the residents of Mallikaitivu
The Australian High Commission, together with IOM handed over community infrastructure facilities to residents of Mallikaitivu in the Mullaitivu district yesterday. With funding from the Government of Australia, IOM worked in close cooperation with Sri Lankan government authorities to construct a community building and production centre for cane based products.
The latest monthly update for Operation Sovereign Borders reveals no illegal boats arrived in August while offshore processing of asylum claims continues to progress, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
Another month has passed under Operation Sovereign Borders without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia. Of the eleven full months under Operation Sovereign Borders seven have passed without such a venture arriving in Australia.
So far in 2014 just one successful people smuggling venture has had passengers transferred to Australian immigration authorities. The passengers from this venture, which originated in India, were all transferred to Nauru in August.
In the first eight months of 2013 under Labor a total of 268 illegal boats arrived with more than 18,800 people on board. Read full media release
A cocktail reception was held last night in Colombo in honour of the Sri Lanka Association of Australia Awards Alumni – an association for Sri Lankans who have studied in Australia under an Australian government scholarship. The Association seeks to strengthen the bonds that alumni established during their time in Australia, create opportunities for intellectual and cultural exchange between Sri Lanka and Australia, and provide members with opportunities for professional development.
The Minister for Public Management Reforms, the Hon Navin Dissanayake was the Chief Guest, and the Guest of Honour was the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Ms Robyn Mudie.
“You are part of a global network of individuals who have spent time in Australia and have brought back to your home country the benefits of an Australian education. Australia places great value on its alumni networks. These form an integral part of the relationships between people, which in turn underpin our strong relationships with other countries around the world,” said Ms Mudie.
The Honourable Minister Mr Navin Dissanayake thanked all alumni for returning to Sri Lanka and sharing the vast knowledge that they gained during their studies in Australia. Read full media release
Australian High Commissioner visits the Central Province
Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, visited the Central Province 19-20 August to declare open an Australian funded water supply scheme in Bogawana Estate, Bogowanthalawa, and to call on Provincial officials and dignitaries.
The Bogowanthalawa scheme, which will provide clean water to over 1700 people was funded by the Government of Australia and implemented through World Vision Rural Integrated Water supply, Sanitation & Hygiene (RIWASH) project.
During her visit to the province, the High Commissioner called on Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thero, Chief Prelate of the Malwatta Chapter of the Shyamopalika Maha Nikaya and Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Rathanapala Mahanayake Thero, Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Shyamopalika Maha Nikaya.
Ms Mudie also met with the Governor of the Central Province, Hon Tikiri Bandara Kobbekaduwa, the Chief Minister of the Central Provincial Council, Mr Sarath Ekanayake, Leader of the Opposition of the Central Provincial Council, Mr Ranjith Aluvihare, the Mayor of Kandy Municipal Council His Worship Mahindra Ratwatte and the Vice Chancellor of the Peradeniya University, Professor Athula Senratne.
Read media release on the opening of the Australian funded water supply scheme in Bogawana Estate, Bogowanthalawa
The 157 illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) who were transferred to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection facilities in Curtin earlier this week have been transferred to Nauru overnight for offshore processing, following their decision to refuse to meet with Indian consular officials, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today. Read full media release
The Australian Government continues its work with regional partners to disrupt people smuggling ventures.
On 29 June 2014 a Border Protection Command maritime asset provided assistance to an Indian flagged vessel outside of Australia's territorial waters. The suspected illegal entry vessel was carrying 157 persons who departed from the south of India.
The 157 illegal maritime arrivals have been transferred to the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre. The Australian Government will facilitate access by Indian Consular officials to those who indicate that they wish to avail themselves of this opportunity. Read full media release
Sri Lanka's capacity to manage maritime security risks and conduct search and rescue will be enhanced with the commissioning of two Bay Class patrol boats gifted by Australia, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, The Hon Scott Morrison said today.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the ex-Australian Customs and Border Protection Vessels (ACVs) Corio Bay and Hervey Bay, now known as Sri Lankan Navy Ships Mihikatha and Rathnadeepa, Minister Morrison said that the Australian Government was proud the vessels' operation would serve to enhance Sri Lanka's maritime security capacity, complementing their current fleet. Read full media release
The Australian and Sri Lankan governments have moved swiftly to return a group of 41 Sri Lankan nationals who attempted to arrive illegally by boat to Australia as part of a maritime people smuggling venture.
The suspected illegal entry vessel (SIEV) was intercepted by Border Protection Command West of Cocos (Keeling) Islands in late June. At no stage was the vessel in distress and all persons aboard the SIEV were safe and accounted for.
Forty one potential illegal maritime arrivals who were intercepted on the SIEV were returned to Sri Lankan authorities yesterday (Sunday 6 July). The 41 Sri Lankan nationals were transferred at sea, in mild sea conditions from a vessel assigned to Border Protection Command (BPC) to Sri Lankan authorities, just outside the Port of Batticaloa. Read full media release.
Beware of Maritime Crew Visa scams
Have you been offered a job to work on a ship travelling to Australia?
Have you been offered a job to work on a ship in Australia?
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has been made aware of a scam where a person is contacted by phone or receives an email with a job offer from a scammer alleging to be able to arrange an employment contract and visa for employment on maritime vessels travelling to or working in Australia. Read more.
The Australian High Commission has granted Rs 27 million to support 13 community-based projects across Sri Lanka, implemented by 12 organisations. Acting Australian High Commissioner, Sonya Koppe, today handed over cheques to community based organisations implementing these small scale development projects around Sri Lanka.
The grants were provided as part of the Australian government’s annual small grant funding program, the Direct Aid Program. These grants are available on a not-for-profit basis to local community groups to provide immediate relief for marginalised communities.
Speaking at the ceremony, Acting High Commissioner Koppe said: “The aim of the Direct Aid Program is to advance developmental objectives and address humanitarian hardship where it is needed most.. Over the years we have supported hundreds of projects in Sri Lanka, transforming the lives of under-privileged people. Australia takes pride in the Direct Aid Program as it allows us to provide direct benefits to community groups doing important work at the grassroots level.” Read full media release
The latest update from Operation Sovereign Borders reveals 20 weeks have passed without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection the Hon. Scott Morrison said today.
'The collapse in the people smuggling trade to Australia continues with the success of the government's border protection policies under Operation Sovereign Borders, despite continued opposition from Labor and the Greens,' Minister Morrison said. Read full media release
On 3 May, the Australian High Commission organised a Master Class by award-winning Australian chef, restaurateur and media personality Peter Kuruvita in collaboration with the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka and the William Angliss Colombo Academy of Hospitality Management.
The Master Class formed part of Peter Kuruvita’s visit to Sri Lanka to promote premium Australian food and wine. The event was an opportunity for Peter Kuruvita to introduce the best of Australia's world renowned fine, fresh gourmet produce to the hospitality trade.
The Master Class brought some of Sri Lanka’s best chefs together with aspiring students of the hospitality trade. The participants tried their hand at cooking some of Peter Kuruvita's unique recipes inspired by the creative, sophisticated and diverse nature of Australian culture. Read full media release.
Four full calendar months without successful people smuggling venture
The latest update from Operation Sovereign Borders reveals four full calendar months have passed without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison said today.
Four consecutive months from January to April, or a third of the year, has now passed without people smugglers sending successful ventures to Australia. Read full media release.
Award-winning Australian chef, restaurateur and media personality Peter Kuruvita will visit Sri Lanka from 29 April-4 May to promote premium Australian food and wine.
The Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie, said “We are delighted to work with Peter Kuruvita to present to a Sri Lankan audience Australian excellence in food and wine products. Australia’s dynamic food and wine industry is driven by demanding consumers seeking diversity, quality and value. We are pleased to showcase our high quality Australian products with Peter Kuruvita, who himself is an example of the bonds between Australia and Sri Lanka.”
As the centrepiece of his visit, Peter Kuruvita has designed the menu for a dinner hosted by High Commissioner Mudie which will celebrate premium Australian food and wine. Peter Kuruvita will then host a masterclass for the Sri Lankan Chef’s Guild and Australian William Angliss Colombo Academy of Hospitality Management. He will also collaborate with the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel on a gourmet dinner open to the public on 3 May. Read full media release
ANZAC DAY 2014
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.