Official Visit to Victoria
Earlier this month, Ambassador Unni Kløvstad, accompanied by the Norwegian Honorary Consul General, Mr Tomm Paulsen, and Dean Channells, conducted an official visit to Melbourne, Victoria. The visit was the last of the official visits to the States and Territories of Australia.
During her visit, Ambassador Kløvstad met with with the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, The Hon Bruce Atkinson, President of Legislative Council, the Hon Telmo Languiller, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and Government Ministers including the Hon Philip Dalidakis MP, the Hon Tim Pallas MP, and the Hon Luke Donnellan MP. The conversations focused on issues of mutual interest and concern, ranging from current international developments, climate change and energy, infrastructure and transportation, to bilateral relationships and Melbourne’s rich cultural diversity.
Melbourne has a rich Norwegian history, both in terms of Norwegian business activity and the people-to-people connections within the community. While the ports of Melbourne no longer host large numbers of Norwegian shipping companies as they used to, large maritime companies such as Farstad Shipping, Stolt-Nielsen, and Wallenius Wilhelmsen operate and maintain a strong presence in the Melbourne area. The City of Melbourne has grown tremendously since the first traffic lights in Australia were installed on Swanston Street in 1928; and innovative Norwegian companies such as Q-Free and Wavetrain are contributing to Melbourne’s development of 21st century systems to improve the efficiency and safety of the city’s road and rail networks. Other sectors such as Health and Energy are significant areas of Norwegian business activity, with Lærdal supplying medical services and equipment throughout the country from Melbourne and DNVGL operating in the energy and resources field, with a particular focus on renewables.
The Ambassador also met with the AsiaLink think tank situated at the University of Melbourne and discussed further areas for engagement and collaboration with RMIT University and had the pleasure to visit the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the Melbourne Museum.
People-to-people connections are the underpinnings of any bilateral relationship. The Ambassador was delighted to meet and spend an evening with members of the Norwegian Community in Melbourne at an event organized by the Friends of Norway Association at the Swedish Church.
The Embassy looks forward to a continued good cooperation and engagement with the State of Victoria, and thanks the Victorian Government for facilitating the Official Visit.