Australian High Commission
Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Reunion Island (consular)

Charge d’Affaires Remarks at Welcome Reception on 12 October 2022

Pending Approval

12 October 2022

Welcome Reception 2022 Remarks, Charge d’Affaires Keara Shaw

▪ The Hon Alan Ganoo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade
▪ Members of Parliament
▪ Members of the Diplomatic Corps
▪ Distinguished guests, fellow Australians, Australian alumni community, and friends of Australia

Good evening

It’s a real pleasure to be hosting all of you here this evening for my first official event as Australia’s Chargé d’Affaires to the Republic of Mauritius.

My family and I already feel very much at home here in Mauritius.

This is because our two countries have a lot in common – not just the beaches and the natural beauty that provides a spectacular backdrop to everyday life – especially here in Mauritius.

Australia and Mauritius are natural partners. We share values, a similar outlook and there are rich links between our people.

Both countries proudly embrace diverse populations. Half of Australians have a parent born overseas and a quarter were born overseas.

Australia is very lucky to have more than 30,000 Mauritians who call Australian home – one of the largest Mauritian diasporas in the world. They are making an important contribution – including in politics. The Hon. Jerome Laxale whose father was a Mauritian politician was recently elected to the Australian Parliament and the Hon Ralph Babet is a Senator in the Victorian state parliament.

We have strong economies that are open to the world. Mauritius is a trusted destination for Australian companies looking to do business here and in Africa. And I hope this is something we can continue to develop.

I acknowledge the business leaders here tonight. I look forward to working with them and with the Australian Chamber of Commerce to advance business links between both countries.

And looking outward, as diplomats do, I see our shared values evident in our ambitions for our region.

Australia, like Mauritius, seeks a peaceful Indo-Pacific region, governed by rules and norms, where countries and peoples cooperate, trade and thrive.
This shared ambition provides a strong basis for our cooperation – in multilateral forums and in facing common challenges.

One of the biggest challenges we face is climate change. We are both countries that are particularly vulnerable to its effects and I am pleased we are working together to address it.

At COP 26, Australia, in partnership with Mauritius, the United Kingdom, India, Jamaica and Fiji, launched the ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States’ initiative.

Australia has also pledged $2 Million to the Commonwealth Finance Access Hub which is hosted here in Mauritius.

And beyond our cooperation at a global level, many of Australia’s local partnerships in Mauritius have a climate change lens – for example:

- funding climate change diplomacy training for officials in Mauritius and the Seychelles.
- capacity building for public, private and NGO sector professionals in Mauritius and Rodrigues in climate change adaptation, grid integration and renewable energy.
- and a new partnership with the Chamber of Agriculture to support farmers to label produce as “climate smart” and access global markets

We are both island countries looking out across the Indian Ocean where we have many shared interests.

I am looking forward to building on the excellent work already underway in developing the blue economy, ensuring the health of our oceans and promoting maritime security.

Amongst other things we are:
- about to launch cutting-edge software with the Mauritius Oceanography Institute to help respond to oil spills and search and rescue operations
- Australia’s University of Sunshine Coast is collaborating with the Ministry of Blue Economy on a sea cucumber aquaculture program.
- Curtin University is partnering with the Ministry of Blue Economy to build research capacity.

Australia is also pleased to collaborate with Mauritius in important regional bodies: the Indian Ocean Commission and IORA.

Education is another area where the relationship is flourishing.

Australia is proud to have awarded scholarships to over 150 talented Mauritians since 2011.

We have 2,000 Mauritian students studying in Australia.

Increasingly, we have thousands of Mauritian students studying Australian courses here in Mauritius.

Australia’s only university campus in Africa – Curtin University - is here. We hope that this can contribute to Mauritius becoming an education hub for students from all over Africa and beyond.

It is also exciting to see that Australian education is now becoming accessible to younger students with Dukesbridge recently entering a partnership to deliver the Western Australian school curriculum.

Its education that gives us some of the best Ambassadors that Australia can ever have.

I am aware that we have many alumni here tonight who are active in different ways to build the relationship. One such alumna is the Chief Whip, the Hon Naveena Ramyad.

Alumni are an important part of the people to people links between our countries.

It is the links between people that events like this evening celebrate. It is the people connected to both countries who are helping to build the relationships in new ways.

So I would like to thank all the friends of Australia who are here tonight. I look forward to working with you to forge new connections between our countries.

I should also mention the small but mighty team at the Embassy. They have done much to help me settle in; to make tonight a success and they have contributed to the friendship between Australia and Mauritius over many years

A final thing that both countries have in common is our appreciation of good food. My family and I love a good rougaille but this evening we have some Australian food and wine to share with you.

We have selected some Australian wine and Gin from New Horizons.

We have Australian lamb for the satay and sausages. And Australian split peas feature in the Mauritian gateau piment.

Thank you to Fine Foods Marketing for the Australian Beef, served up in mini burgers.

Merci ze tout pou zot presence. I look forward to working with all of you over the 18 months.