23 November 2020
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to be here today in Shenyang to mark the chancery opening for Australia’s newest Consulate-General in China.
This is not the first and may not be the last “opening” for this post!
DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson, a former Ambassador to China, unveiled a Foundation Plaque during her visit here in April last year. And I expect an Australian Minister will visit in the future to open the chancery formally.
This Consulate-General, has taken forward a big agenda since establishment in March 2019 – building networks and creating a base from which Australia can learn more about this region and identify opportunities where we can work together.
The fact that this is Australia’s sixth diplomatic post in China is itself a reflection of the importance of the bilateral relationship to both sides. China has also expanded its footprint in Australia, having opened its sixth Australian post in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, in 2016.
That we are only the eighth country to open a Consulate-General in Shenyang since the founding of the PRC, demonstrates the importance we attach to this region.
Australia’s has strong links with Northeast China across trade, investment, immigration and education. Australian companies, like BHP, Rio Tinto and FMG export much of the iron ore used in this region’s steel mills.
A successful joint venture between Australian company Downer and CRRC builds the trains for our railways in Sydney and Melbourne.
Northeast firms like Dashang, Beidahuang and Weilin continue to invest in Australian agriculture, while others like AnSteel and Hanking are big investors in our resources sector.
High-quality Australian agricultural produce continues to be imported by companies like Shenyang’s Qupai and Dili Fresh, Dalian’s Yidu, Harbin’s Grand Farm and Tianshunyuan – all of which are enjoyed by Northeast consumers.
This region is a symbol of our two countries’ mutual complementarities and a critical cornerstone to our bilateral trade and investment relationship. Australia-China trade reached $252 billion last year, supported by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Meanwhile, dozens of universities across Northeast China – some of the best in the country – have joint programs and other cooperation activities with Australian institutions. Liaoning University’s Asia-Australia Business School is one example. Australian studies centres in Northeast China, of which there are currently four, highlight continued academic interest in Australia.
The opening of this new chancery means the Consulate-General can now recruit local staff and will be better resourced to identify more opportunities in this region and promote links with Australia. It also means this post will next year be offering consular services to Australians, as well as notarial services to Northeasterners, without the need for them to travel to Beijing as they do now.
I would like to congratulate the Shenyang Consulate-General team for their hard work in getting our newest post in China up and running.
I wish all here today every success in continuing to build and expand ties between Northeast China and Australia.
I now ask that you join me in a toast to celebrating the opening of this new chancery.