Consular meeting at the Consulate General of France in Sydney – 16 June 2014

Photo Eric Berti

Eric Berti

On 16 June 2014 an inter-consular meeting was held at the Consulate General of France in Sydney, bringing together the main actors of the French consular network across Australia. Mr  Bouchard, Directeur des Français à l’étranger, Mr Berti, Consul Général, Mr  Le Van Xieu, Consul adjoint, Mr Basse, Responsable des affaires sociales, and Lady Edwards, Mrs IndoratoMrs. Marcham, Mrs Bye, Mrs Boisbouvier-Wylie  respectively Consules honoraires in Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Hobart and Melbourne, and the Consular Assistants of Perth and Adelaide. They were later joined by the Conseillers de l’Association des Français à l’Etranger and the Conseillers Consulaires.

The purpose of the meeting to observe the evolution of the French community across Australia and the necessities thereof. The meeting took place not long after the election of the Conseillers Consulaires of May 2014 and their presentation as well as their effective implementation was also part of the agenda.

The evolution of the French-Australian relationship were also discussed, in the context of course of the G20 hosted this year in Australia and of the organisation of a Presidential visit.

Finally, this meeting was an opportunity to review the activity of the honorary consulates, and for the latter to share their remarks about the French communities of their states.

The majority of the points ranged from the difficulties experienced by French nationals in Australia in their access to public and administrative services to the various educational and cultural projects currently in progress. Activities of the various benevolent societies were also commended, with the need for an overall guideline being stressed.

20 000 French nationals were registered as of the end of 2013, with an 8.2% increase from the previous year. New South Wales hosts the largest community in numbers, with over 40% of the French nationals in Australia, followed by Victoria (19%) and Queensland (17%).