The 80th anniversary of the relationship between New Caledonia and Australia will be celebrated on 6 August in Nouméa [fr]
On this occasion, the President of the Government of New Caledonia, Mr Thierry Santa, will deliver a speech in the presence of the Australian Consul General in New Caledonia, Mrs Alison Carrington, before the Australian community of New Caledonia and all the institutional, economic, cultural and civil society players.
The celebration of the 80th anniversary will provide an opportunity to recall the very strong relationship between two close neighbors, Australia and New Caledonia, and to take stock of the past and present relationship in a very constructive way, enabling to look to the future with confidence.
Eighty years ago, in 1940, during the Second World War, Noumea was, after London, Washington and Ottawa, the fourth diplomatic representation to be established by Australia.
In the more recent past, in May 2018, the visit to Sydney of the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emanuel Macron, together with the then President of the Government of New Caledonia, served to rekindle the interest and understanding of the Australian authorities for New Caledonia, particularly following the announcement of the "Pacific Step-Up" strategy to enhance Australia’s engagement in the Pacific.
In January last year, the creation of the position of Official Representative of New Caledonia to Australia, within the French Embassy in Canberra, illustrates New Caledonia’s political will to strengthen its ties with Australia.
Illustrated by the recent visits to Australia by the President of the South Province, Mrs Sonia Backes (Dec. 2019) and the spokesperson and member of the New Caledonian Government, Mr Christopher Gyges (March 2020), the bilateral relationship is particularly dynamic. It covers the fields of the economy (mining, tourism, standards, biosecurity, agriculture), education and training, university cooperation, sustainable development and renewable energies, research and innovation, and health. In terms of defense, a competence exercised by France, New Caledonia, through the presence of the Armed Forces of New Caledonia (FANC) on its soil, contributes to the implementation of the FRANZ Agreement (1992) and is involved in regional military exercises (Southern Cross in particular).
With regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, cooperation between Australia and New Caledonia on repatriation illustrates the strength of the bilateral relation.
The future of the bilateral relationship will be determined by three factors: i) the result of the October 4 referendum; ii) the proposed health bubble between Australia, New Zealand and the countries of the Pacific region, and iii) the maintenance, in conjunction with France’s action, of the security and prosperity of the Pacific region.