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Monday, April 19, 2021

Australia announces plans to open embassy in Qatar

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The Australian government has said it will open its first diplomatic office in Qatar in an effort to simplify the lives of the thousands of its citizens living here, as well as build upon the QR3.48 billion (A$1.2 billion) trading relationship.

The announcement was contained in Australia’s federal budget, which allocated QR285.44 million (A$98.3 million) to open new overseas missions in Qatar, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Mongolia and Thailand.

Pablo Kang
Pablo Kang

No timeline or location has been set for the new embassy, but officials said they expect the budgeted amount to be spent by the end of the government’s fiscal year in June 2016.

There are some 4,500 to 5,000 Australian expats living in Qatar, primarily working in professional fields including healthcare, education and construction management.

Currently, they receive consular service from the Australian embassy in Abu Dhabi and its ambassador, Pablo Kang, who also represents his country in Qatar.

Speaking to Doha News by phone today, Kang said:

“It’s a very welcome announcement … (that) reflects a growing bilateral relationship that we have with Qatar.”

Rachel Morris, who chairs the Qatar Australia New Zealand Business Association in Doha, said the community has been well-served by its representatives in the UAE, which regularly visited Qatar to hold passport clinics and attest documents.

However, she said having an embassy in Doha would offer logistical relief to many Australians in Qatar.

“We get a lot of questions on how one renews a passport … It’s a really exciting time because so many of us have been waiting for it,” Morris said.

Business and trade

The presence of an embassy is often viewed as a way of boosting trade between two countries.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Australia sent more than QR1.48 billion (A$502 million) in goods to Qatar in 2013, an increase of nearly 1 percent over the previous year, according to that country’s government. Its exports to Qatar are dominated by live animals, motor vehicles, meat and wheat.

But its imports from from Qatar are growing at a faster pace, adding up to more than QR2.1 billion (A$724 million) in 2013, which was up nearly 12 percent over the previous year and consisted almost entirely of LNG products and fertilizers.

This country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, is also active in Australia. It has invested in Australia’s wheat, barley and other grain-producing farms, as well as sheep properties, in support of Qatar’s food security strategy.

Several Australian companies have a notable presence in Qatar, including engineering firm GHD and office provider Servecorp.

The country’s keenness to boost ties with the region was on display last month when Andrew Robb, Australia’s trade and investment minister, visited Qatar and several other Gulf states.

Before he departed Australia, Robb said in a statement he would use his visit to push for the resumption of free trade negotiations with the GCC.

“This will be my third visit to the Gulf in 12 months, which indicates the priority Australia places on further deepening trade and investment links with this dynamic region,” Robb stated.

Morris told Doha News that she was asked by Robb what the biggest barrier was for Australia to expand its business relationship with Qatar.

“The lack of an embassy,” Morris replied. “Having an embassy here is very important. It shows that Australia takes its relationship with Qatar very seriously.”

Thoughts?

14 COMMENTS

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Heisenberg
Heisenberg
5 years ago

Finally. It’s about time

Jesse Pinkman
Jesse Pinkman
5 years ago
Reply to  Heisenberg

What’s cooking?

Flynn Jr
Flynn Jr
5 years ago
Reply to  Heisenberg

w www What’s for bbbreakfast dad?

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

Cracker Blue!

qatari
qatari
5 years ago

welcome to Doha

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Well they must have heard more bars are opening or have been given the concession to import unlimited supplies of Fosters….

Aussieinthesand
Aussieinthesand
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

No Australian drinks Fosters, we send it out to the rest of the world so you don’t drink our good beer…

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I think that is what i said, no sane person would drink fosters….

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

As far as I was aware, Fosters isn’t even brewed in Australia any more. An Australian brand, certainly, but not an Australian beer.

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago

As an Australian i will write to me democratic elected members of Parliament and strongly advocate for this not to happen. Australia should not waste millions opening up an embassy in an apartheid state that enslaves people.
Sure, there may be 5-6000 Australians working here, but none of them can leave with out an exit permit. People seem to think Qatar is ok because it does not take expats passports, however, the passport means nothing with out an exit permit.
Abused workers, no justice, raped maids, no justice, children killed through negligence, no justice., 400 plus workers killed on World Cup stadiums, no justice, no change

An embassy would legitimise Qatar and it does not yet deserve to receive any recognition as a legitimate state with justice and equality for all.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

Couldn’t agree more mate.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS MONEY,THAT’S THE NORM FROM THE WESTERN COUNTIES .ELSE LET THEM BAN ,CHINA , RUSSIA ,ISRAEL & YES America .oh wait they cant. why ????

Skippy1111
Skippy1111
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

YOU LEFT YOUR CAPS LOCK ON – Doh !
China, no exit permit required, Russia, no exit permit required, Israel, no exit permit required, America..again..no exit permit required. None of those counties, or countries impose the kafala system of no rights for workers, no ability to leave unless the master/company allows them to leave. Coincidently, none of those countries absolutely relies 100% on foreign workers unlike Qatar

greylag
greylag
5 years ago
Reply to  Skippy1111

If it is so disagreeable, then why do you not leave?

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