From 11 June to 13 June, the Ambassador of France to Australia , HE Christophe Penot, came to Melbourne with an economic delegation to meet with the Premier of Victoria, the Hon. Daniel Andrews, and various ministers of his governement, such as the Treasurer and Minister for the Economy Tim Pallas, Minister for Innovation Martin Pakula, and the Hon. Richard Wynne, Minister for planning and Minister for Multiculturalism. The Ambassador also paid a curtesy call to the Hon. Michael O’Brien, the Leader of the Opposition.
This Official Visit had a definite economic outlook as Victoria’s infrastructure building program has attracted a wave of trade and investment and 120 French firms now have offices, subsidiaries or headquarters based in Melbourne. The visit of one of the construction sites of Melbourne’s massive Metro Tunnel was the opportunity for Secretary of State Vicky Ward MP to show to the Ambassador the huge tunnelling effort made by a consortium that includes Bouygues Construction.
At a French-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Breakfast event on Thursday morning, kindly hosted by EY, Economic Development Minister Tim Pallas MP announced that the two latest French additions, VISEO and Total Eren will create 65 new jobs by setting up their local headquarters in Melbourne.
Earlier in the week, Engie had hosted an informal drinks for people interested in renewable energy, a sector where the French are world leaders.
On Wednesday evening, the Governor of Victoria, HE Linda Dessau hosted a State Dinner at Government House in honour of the French Ambassador, which was a charming interlude in the middle of a very serious week.
The media did a good coverage of the visit with an article published by The Age and an interview by Jean-Noel Ducasse on SBS Radio.
A very busy and productive week indeed marking the excellence of the French Victorian relationship!