Reference Number: PR
0886, Press Release Issue Date: Apr 20, 2012

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign
Affairs Hon. Tonio Borg said that the friendship between the people of Malta and Australia is a crucial ingredient to further strengthen the political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries.

Dr Tonio Borg today held meetings with Senator, the Hon. Bob Carr, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Australia during his visit to Malta. Addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shortly after the meeting, Dr Tonio Borg said that both sides agreed that although Malta and Australia are geographically far apart, nonetheless they are very close in regards to diplomatic relations and friendship. This friendship is further highlighted by the thousands of Maltese who live in Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Borg said that Malta cannot ignore the relatively large number of Maltese who reside outside Malta. The Convention of Maltese Living Abroad, which took place in March 2010, and the resulting Act to establish a Council for Maltese Living Abroad, is proof of how much the Government wants to strengthen the ties with Maltese communities residing
outside Malta.

Both sides also discussed cultural and linguistic opportunities between Malta and Australia. Dr Tonio Borg thanked the Australian officials for their awareness with respect to the importance of languages in a multi-ethnic community. He emphasised the importance that Malta is giving to this area, so much so that in 2011 the Malta High Commission in Canberra offered a stipend of USD 150 to each student
sitting for the Maltese exam. A federation of Maltese Language Schools has been established to ensure a common curriculum and to promote the Maltese Language.

Minister Borg also referred to the acquisition by the Armed Forces of Malta of Australian built Patrol Boats. This equipment is indeed useful for the Armed Forces of Malta. Senator Carr thanked the Maltese Government for assisting 33 Australian citizens to be evacuated out
of Libya during the crisis last year.

Malta and Australia have in operation 10 bilateral agreements. In 2011, Malta imported almost 5 million euro worth of goods from Australia, while it exported almost 3.5 million Euro to Australia. Imports are mainly split in two product categories, namely, animal or vegetable fats and pharmaceuticals. Exports tend to be tilted towards beverages and pharmaceutical products. 2011 marked a record year of tourists arrival from Australia, totalling 18,301. There are 137 companies with Australian shareholding registered with the Malta Financial Services Authority.