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Newsletter 05/2020

A Message from Team Australia | H.E. Heidi Venamore PSM

 

I was delighted to arrive in the UAE in January, which coincided with a tremendous moment in the relationship between Australia and the UAE, with the UAE’s generous contribution to the Australian bushfire response.  This included the establishment of the Emirati Red Crescent #MatesHelpMates fundraising appeal, efforts by Emirates and Etihad, and the lighting up of the Burj Khalifa in support of Australia.  Australian Governor-General David Hurley acknowledged these and other efforts in a special message of thanks.

It has been an absolute pleasure to meet some of you in the first few months before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.  I regret that the circumstances have not allowed me to meet more of you in person, however, I trust that you enjoyed tuning in to the joint Australian Business Council Dubai (ABCD) and Australian Business Group Abu Dhabi (AusBG) lunchtime discussion on 23 April.    

The last few months have been challenging as we come to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic in the UAE and also throughout the world.  We have supported a number of Australians to depart the UAE via repatriation flights operated by Etihad and continue to support those who have decided to remain in the UAE.

Smartraveller is not just for tourists but also for those of you who reside in the UAE. In November 2019, we changed the way Smartraveller operates. The new system allows you to subscribe to get travel advice alerts on countries that you are interested in, but you no longer register your details or travel plans with us.  A reminder that if you were registered with Smartraveller before November 2019, you will need to re-subscribe to receive advice on any updates to travel advice.

Both the Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Consulate in Dubai are open on reduced operating hours to provide urgent passport and notarial services. Services in both locations are by appointment only via our websites. We are also available to provide consular support while working remotely from home. 

We continue to encourage the Australian community to follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).  I will take this opportunity to say that if you still want to depart the UAE please email your details to the Consulate in Dubai via email consular.dubai@austrade.gov.au

The Australian Government is acutely aware of the impact of COVID-19 on Australian business, exporters and investors. The battle to save lives from the virus needs to be coupled with efforts to protect livelihoods and ways of life.  Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has joined forces with his UK, New Zealand and Singapore counterparts in an opinion piece on the importance of maintaining an open, rules based trade system.  You can read the opinion piece HERE.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also pledged $352 million to fight COVID-19.  This will contribute to R&D work on vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and respiratory medicine: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/coronavirus-global-response-international-pledging-event

Due to COVID, Anzac Day 2020 was marked differently this year, but with no less significance than any other year to honour our servicemen and women. In lieu of the Embassy’s dawn service, we commemorated Anzac Day virtually with a joint New Zealand-Australian post with wreath laying and readings.  We linked people up with the Australian War Memorial service, and with video messages from the Defence Attaches and Ambassadors across the Middle East region.  I was touched by the images of Australians and New Zealanders paying their respects from home, on their driveways and on farms with candles and home renditions of The Last Post.  Lest we forget.  

And in closing, Ramadan Mubarak to those observing Ramadan.  I hope that this month brings you joy around the table of iftar, inner peace and spiritual strength. 

Heidi Venamore PSM

Australian Ambassador to the UAE

 

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