High Commissioner Weliamuna concludes first official visit to Victoria
Sri Lanka’s newly appointed High Commissioner to Australia, J.C.Weliamuna, PC, undertook his first official visit to Melbourne from 13-15 October, 2019. Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria and the second largest city in Australia. It is the home to one of the largest and vibrant Overseas Sri Lankan communities.
During his visit, High Commissioner Weliamuna called on the Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews at the Parliament House, Victoria and underlined the salient aspects of the enduring relationship between Sri Lanka and Australia. They discussed the emerging bilateral partnerships in education, health and tourism and agreed to explore a joint tourism promotion drive between Sri Lanka and Victoria. The Premier, while underlining the outstanding contribution of the Sri Lankan community to Victoria and its economy, assured continuous cooperation and stand by Sri Lanka as a close friend.
The High Commissioner also called on the Victorian Multicultural Minister Richard Wynne and discussed mutually beneficial partnerships, particularly trade, education and tourism.
The High Commissioner met with representatives of the nearly one hundred thousand Sri Lankan community in Victoria in a grand welcome reception hosted by the Sri Lankan community and graced by the Victorian Parliamentarians of Sri Lankan descent Craig Ondarchie and Dr. Samantha Ratnam and during several other meetings with the Sri Lankan community associations. During these interactions, the High Commissioner acknowledged the contribution of Sri Lankan community in consolidating the excellent bilateral relationship with Australia as well as the State of Victoria and emphasised the importance of continuing the same. The High Commissioner, noting the significance of the Overseas Sri Lankans as Sri Lanka’s development partners, requested them to engage in the “One Village One Product (OVOP)” project and “2000 Exporters Development Programme” launched by the Export Development Board (EDB) in order to expand the Sri Lankan exports basket.
High Commissioner Weliamuna interacted with a section of leading Sri Lankan university academics in Victoria and discussed a spectrum of academic partnerships. He underlined the strong educational linkages between Sri Lanka and Victoria and highlighted the vast potential for mutually benefitted academic achievements. Nearly ten thousand Sri Lankan students currently study in Victoria while series of academic collaborations exist between Sri Lankan and Australian Universities.
The High Commissioner met the Director, State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Andrew Cumpston, and Director, Strategic Technology Partnerships Jobs, Innovation and Business Engagement at the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions Kathy Coultas as well.
During his visit to the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Melbourne, the High Commissioner re-launched the official website of the Consulate General. The upgraded website design with social media handles will be an essential tool for promotion of Sri Lanka as a destination for Australian tourists and will provide information for potential investors and traders, as well as for those who require consular services.
Consul General of Sri Lanka in Melbourne Kapila Fonseka and Consul Diana Perera accompanied the High Commissioner throughout the visit.
Consulate General of Sri Lanka Melbourne