Joint statement of enhanced strategic partnership between Australia and France

Australia and France welcome strengthened bilateral ties and have decided to upgrade the Joint Statement of Strategic Partnership between Australia and France, dated 19 January 2012, via this declaration. This joint statement of enhanced strategic partnership coincides with Australia and France entering a new era of cooperation.

Australia and France are drawn together by their history, values and common aspirations for a secure and more prosperous future. The two countries cooperate on shared interests including promotion of a stable Indo-Pacific region committed to international norms and law, and share approaches to many of this century's challenges. As friends and partners, together they address increasing global challenges, such as terrorism, transnational, serious and organised crime, proliferation and climate change. The two countries work closely in order to foster innovative, sustainable and balanced growth.

Our security and defence cooperation, a central element of the relationship for over a century, continues to be a foundation of our partnership. Our cooperation on defence industry, including on Australia's Future Submarine Program (FSP) will have implications in many areas of the bilateral relationship beyond the defence sector, including industrial, scientific and research matters, bilateral trade and investment, and cultural and education exchanges, including people-to-people links.

The Franco-Australian relationship is set to continue developing over time, between the two governments at all levels, businesses, civil societies and citizens.

It is in this spirit that the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic have determined the following priorities, which incorporate relevant provisions of the Joint Statement of Strategic Partnership between Australia and France of 2012.

A. Political cooperation

The two Governments reassert the importance of increasing high-level bilateral exchanges in order to promote dialogue and practical cooperation on bilateral, regional and international issues. The two governments will continue strengthening their bilateral ties and intensify their strategic dialogue. As such, they will:

  1. Conduct regular consultations between their Ministers for Foreign Affairs, annually insofar as possible, and where appropriate other senior ministers. Meetings will be held between senior officials in order to support such meetings.
  2. Ensure regular exchanges between the Australian and French parliaments, with the support of their friendship groups.
  3. Step up exchanges between the policy planning areas of their respective Foreign Ministries.
  4. Enhance engagements between senior officials, expert groups and research bodies in Australia and France, particularly with regard to strategic security and defence issues, including by conducting regular consultations between the French President's Diplomatic Adviser and Australian counterpart.
  5. Foster greater mutual understanding of their international actions by increasing exchanges of diplomatic personnel.
  6. Consider holding a regular economic leadership forum targeting business leaders, and including political or officials' attendance as possible.
  7. Consider holding a youth dialogue based on a theme varying from year to year.
  8. Actively support initiatives aimed at giving a new dimension to decentralised cooperation particularly at the levels of cities and regions. This includes facilitating trade and investment prospects with those directly involved in the FSP.
  9. Continue reciprocal visits of future leaders and journalists, to develop their personal ties and understanding of the challenges of each other's countries in the long term.
  10. Ratify, as soon as possible, a General Security Agreement on the reciprocal exchange and protection of classified information.
  11. Cooperate, together with third countries where appropriate, on mutually relevant regional and global issues.

B. Defence cooperation

The two Governments reassert their mutual commitment to the peaceful settlement of conflicts around the world, in accordance with international rules and norms; to enhancing bilateral defence cooperation and the strengthening of international peace and security, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia and France will continue to cooperate in joint military operations. Australia's decision to partner with France on Australia's Future Submarine Program will further increase the existing strong defence relationship.

Their armed forces have stood alongside each other in many theatres of operation since the First World War and at present in the Indian Ocean and in the Middle East. They recall the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic regarding Defence Cooperation and Status of Forces signed on 14 December 2006. To maintain and strengthen defence dialogue and cooperation, they will:

  1. Conduct an annual Defence ministers meeting to oversee the evolution of the strategic partnership on matters related to the bilateral defence relationship, as well as other regular consultations and visits at senior political, civil and military levels.
  2. Conduct an annual strategic dialogue at the level of the senior officials responsible for the strategy and international relations of the two Defence Departments, addressing all components of the Defence relationship.
  3. Hold annual Service to Service and Joint consultations supporting the military defence relationship, including annual submarine talks.
  4. Promote the attachment of officers in the services to facilitate military cooperation.
  5. Enhance cooperation between the two Navies, particularly in support of Australia's FSP and regional operational cooperation.
  6. Step up contacts, including by organising regular dialogues between officials, industry representatives and academics ("1.5 track" dialogues) on strategic issues, especially those relating to the Indo-Pacific region.
  7. Promote long-term strategic cooperation in the Pacific region, including through the biennial South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting and drawing on the biannual Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group exchanges between Australia and France in liaison with New Zealand and the United States, and on preparation and implementation of joint action under the FRANZ Agreement in response to natural disasters in the Pacific.
  8. Foster Franco-Australian defence and security cooperation with third countries, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.
  9. Continue cooperation on current and future defence materiel programs by maintaining various high-level dialogues involving the participants.
  10. With regard to defence equipment programs, maintain the annual rhythm of the bilateral armaments committee.
  11. Conduct a biannual Steering Committee meeting as set out in the Framework Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic Concerning Cooperation on the Future Submarine Program signed on 20 December 2016.
  12. Foster regular inter-services consultations dedicated to the comprehensive security of the SEA 1000 program, including cyber threats.
  13. Finalise the mutual logistical support agreement.

C.  Cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Oceans

The two Governments reassert the importance of their cooperation in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, where they both have an interest in promoting peace, security stability and prosperity, and support the growing integration of French territories into their regional environment.  To that end, they will:

  1. Establish regular meetings between the Minister for Overseas France and the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, insofar as possible, and regular meetings between the French Asia and Oceania Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and the First Assistant Secretary, Pacific Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  2. Step up Franco-Australian cooperation in the Pacific region on issues of interest to both governments, including the promotion of sustainable development, promotion of human rights and democratic governance, economic development, the sustainable management of ocean resources, and action in the event of natural disasters (FRANZ arrangement).
  3. Enhance their coordination in the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and other relevant regional organizations, in particular in the areas of climate change, and ocean observation and protection.
  4. Continue practical action to encourage sustainable management of the Coral Sea and surrounding areas, in accordance with the Declaration of Intentions between Australia and France, on behalf of New Caledonia, of 10 March 2010.
  5. Work in the regional organisations with the French Overseas Territories, particularly New Caledonia and French Polynesia as new members of the Pacific Islands Forum, to encourage stronger regional engagement.
  6. Encourage student, professional and academic exchanges between Australia and French Pacific territories. The Australian International Option Baccalaureate (OIB) will be incorporated as a priority into teaching in Australia and in the French Pacific territories.
  7. Continue actively to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and to promote responsible and sustainable management of fish stocks, including through cooperation on air and sea surveillance, data sharing and through regional fisheries management organisations.
  8. Give impetus to the actions taken by the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), and support the increased engagement of France and its territories in the Indian Ocean, including within regional organisations.

D.  Security and intelligence cooperation

Security, and counter-terrorism in particular, plays a central role in the strategic partnership. The two Governments reassert the importance of close bilateral cooperation to address major international security issues of common concern, and will:

  1. Reinforce cooperation to combat terrorism, including by giving effect to the Joint Declaration of the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of the French Republic on 27 April 2015 and the Declaration of Intent between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic on Cooperation to Combat Terrorism signed on 26 April 2011.
  2. Enhance high level and experts' regular consultations in relation with threat assessment, preparedness and planning responses to terrorism and transnational threats.
  3. Enhance efforts to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and strengthen nuclear security levels, through dialogue in multilateral fora (for example, within the frameworks of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)), bilateral cooperation and practical action.
  4. Cooperate in the framework of the international cyber security agenda, including through dialogue between Foreign Ministries on the development of international cyber norms, and bilateral cooperation between the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and Agence National de la sécurité  des systèmes d'information (ANSSI). 
  5. Continue intensifying cooperation and exchanges between their specialized agencies on common threats.
  6. Enhance cooperation to combat maritime piracy, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and other transnational and serious and organised criminal security threats.
  7. Enhance their cooperation to combat all forms of trafficking and other transnational crime, particularly in the Pacific region (for example in support of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police - PICP) and the Indian Ocean.
  8. Cooperate on development of international space norms in support of responsible and peaceful uses of outer space.
  9. Foster dialogue on strategic issues of mutual interest, including Europe's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), and strategic issues regarding security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region.

E.  Economic cooperation

The two Governments will intensify their dialogue on international economic policy and breathe new momentum into the bilateral trade and investment dimension of their economic relations and will:

  1. Strengthen the economic partnership by encouraging two-way trade and investment flows, including cooperating on efforts towards a balanced and mutually beneficial Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement.
  2. Hold regular ministerial meetings on trade and economic matters, annually insofar as possible. These meetings should include delegations with wide private sector participation to bring about deep economic dialogue, through the nomination of experts responsible for producing concrete proposals on identified barriers to the development of trade and investment.
  3. Continue to exchange views on multilateral economic and trade matters at senior officials level, particularly continuing close cooperation on the G20 agenda.
  4. Organise exchanges between the two countries' regulatory authorities in areas of common interest, such as prudential regulation, market regulation and competition, either in existing multilateral frameworks or bilaterally.
  5. Encourage bilateral and regional trade, foreign direct investment and business partnerships, including in the French Pacific territories, through the work of Business France, Austrade, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), business organisations and special representatives from the business community such as the Australia Pacific Islands Business Council; this could include events in Australia, France and in French Overseas Territories, and group visits in both directions to foster direct dialogue and mutual understanding and awareness of business opportunities.
  6. Cooperate on trade and economic matters in relation to third party states and territories.
  7. Ensure that tourism policy and foreign investment policy are incorporated into relevant bilateral dialogues.
  8. Actively support trade and investment initiatives to access value chains, notably through innovation and exchange of solutions.
  9. Foster opportunities for young professionals to benefit from experiences in the other country, for example through internships in private companies.

F.  Energy and resources cooperation

Building on our mutual interests in energy and resources, including the momentum of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the two Governments will:

  1. Enhance high-level dialogue between Australian and French authorities on energy policy and primary energy sources (including uranium), with the participation of respective business communities wherever possible.
  2. Continue existing cooperation relating to carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, including through the Global CCS Institute and other initiatives such as 4 per 1000.
  3. Strengthen their partnership in the area of renewable energy, especially wind and solar power, energy storage using batteries, hydrogen and wave energy.
  4. Seek synergies in the area of developing renewable energy in small island states and territories, including within the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) small island developing states (SIDS) Lighthouse initiative.
  5. Step up bilateral cooperation relating to strategic metals, in particular by promoting industrial cooperation and development of open and transparent international markets.
  6. Step up cooperation on nuclear safety within the framework of the Australia-France Joint Statement on Civil Nuclear Safety issued on 11 September 2011, and develop exchanges between respective specialised services in charge of nuclear security.
  7. Promote cooperation between their organisations responsible for processing and managing radioactive waste, particularly on Australian projects concerning storage of intermediate-level waste.
  8. Support the cooperation established between the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and AREVA for the processing in France of spent fuel from the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor, used notably for the production of medical radioisotopes, and launch talks on the preparation of an intergovernmental agreement needed for it to be properly carried out.

G.   Transport cooperation and infrastructure

The two Governments will:

  1. Organise further high-level dialogue between officials on transport policy, and enhance their exchanges in the areas of infrastructure, rail transport and smart cities.
  2. Organise further dialogue to promote business opportunities for Australian and French companies in the transport sector, especially relating to high-speed rail, infrastructure (including smart infrastructure and infrastructure security), and airspace management.
  3. Support the opening of a direct air route between the two countries, which has been made possible by a recent exchange of letters and would enhance the development of both air traffic and direct connectivity between Australia and France.

H.  Cooperation in education, science, technology and culture

The two Governments recognise the value of the many cultural, linguistic, education and scientific exchanges that have developed in recent years.  In order to strengthen contacts and links of friendship between the peoples of Australia and France, in particular between young people, they will:

  1. Promote Australian and French higher education and foster student mobility, including through Austrade and CampusFrance.
  2. Encourage the development of projects for Franco-Australian bilingual programs and binational schools in Australia and France, including the development of the Label FrancEducation in Australia, and the development of international curriculum sections, with the OIB issued as part of this curriculum.
  3. Promote French-Australian educational cooperation in the field of school education and the access of pupils to both countries' higher education institutions.
  4. Support the exchange of both countries' arts and culture, for example by promoting French language and culture in Australia through the Alliance Française.
  5. Continue their cooperation in education, higher education and research, through student grants, undergraduate, master's, doctoral and postdoctoral programs, support for early career researchers to establish networks and linkages, and exchanges between academics from tertiary education institutions and research institutes, consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding on the Recognition of Qualifications signed on 1 July 1999 between Australia and France.
  6. Encourage collaboration between research and industry in areas of mutually agreed interest such as advanced manufacturing, mining and energy, and entrepreneurship skills development for students and early career researchers.
  7. Enhance scientific relations between the two countries to develop and strengthen cooperative partnerships in health, environment, marine biodiversity conservation, agriculture and energy transition.
  8. Continue discussions on an update to the film coproduction agreement signed in 1986.
  9. Conduct regular discussions to enhance cultural relations between the two countries and continue to develop and strengthen cooperative partnerships in the arts and cultural sectors, including through bilateral exchanges and collaboration between arts and cultural organisations.
  10. Give a new dimension to the cultural cooperation between the two countries by considering a reciprocal event that could be held in future years, covering a wide range of themes including culture, trade, investment, science, technology, gastronomy and tourism.
  11. Continue to work together to determine solutions to enable the return of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral human remains from French museums and public collections.
  12. Continue to encourage exchanges between museums and other heritage institutions including loans of works, exchanges of exhibitions, and sharing of working practices and expertise.

I. Cooperation in the area of innovation

The two Governments will continue to strengthen their dialogue on innovation and will develop their respective measures to support innovation and entrepreneurship. To do so, they will:

  1. Hold regular consultations at various levels on their systems and strategy for supporting innovation and technology transfer.
  2. Support cooperation in emerging technologies in Industry 4.0 sub-sectors such as: additive manufacturing; the industrial internet of things; cyber security; big data and analytics; the Cloud; autonomous robots; simulation and augmented reality; and horizontal and vertical systems integration.
  3. Foster the exchange of talent aimed at linking entrepreneurs with innovation ecosystems of enabling communities of entrepreneurs, science and technology infrastructure, accessible venture finance, universities and research institutions.
  4. Support cooperation in the area of innovation, related to the goal of creating a sovereign Australian submarine industry.
  5. Maximise the opportunities to the Australian and French industries and the broader innovation ecosystem from the commitment to knowledge, technology and skills transfer between the Australian and French participants of the FSP.
  6. Express their intention to cooperate more closely in the radio astronomy and space science sectors, building on existing collaboration in relation to exploitation of satellite navigation technologies and satellite imagery for economic and environmental benefit.

J.  Cooperation on shared memory of the First World War

In order to best commemorate shared sacrifice in the First World War the two Governments will:

  1. Continue to implement a program of commemorative events, and foster initiatives and activities relating to their shared memory through relevant institutions and organisations in each country.
  2. Update the Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and France on Cooperation in the Field of the Shared History of the World Wars of the Twentieth Century, signed on 14 November 2003.
  3. Promote initiatives to strengthen links between the cities and regions of Australia and France, in the framework of commemorations.

K.    Cooperation on environmental and climate issues

The two Governments, in firm support of the rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement and, mindful of the importance of combating climate change, of sustainable development and of environmental protection, will:

  1. Give a new dimension to their climate cooperation in order to continue the momentum since COP21, and encourage the implementation of effective and ambitious solutions with civil society through support for the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action and cooperative initiatives.
  2. Amplify their continuing efforts to implement the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) from 2021, as agreed at the 39th International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly in October 2016.
  3. Advance areas not directly covered by the agreement such as aviation and international maritime transport and work together to implement the Kigali amendment under the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons.
  4. Work together through continued exchange and engagement between science and policy agencies on climate adaptation science, in particular to help address the adverse impacts of climate change in the Pacific region, including through initiatives such as the Climate Risk and Early Warning System (CREWS).
  5. Reassert both countries' commitment to global and regional solutions to the challenges posed by climate change, especially for small island states in the Pacific.
  6. Continue exchanges between their governments and the business community on carbon market issues.
  7. Continue to lead the promotion of blue carbon ecosystems through engagement with the International Partnership for Blue Carbon and support practical steps throughout their regions.
  8. Continue to give a high priority to promotion of sustainable development, both in bilateral cooperation and in major international forums, and jointly promote strengthening the role played by the United Nations in effectively improving global governance of sustainable development.
  9. Increase their cooperation to foster the preservation of coral reef and associated ecosystems worldwide, especially in the framework of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), and to promote the work of the ICRI at an international level.
  10. Continue their bilateral cooperation to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the sub-Antarctic zone.
  11. Reassert and promote their clear and firm commitment to the Antarctic Treaty and to continuing close collaboration within the Antarctic Treaty System.
  12. Reassert support for, and commitment to, the environmental protection regime enshrined in the Madrid Protocol acknowledging the role of Australia and France in initiating this process, and commit to continuing close collaboration within the Antarctic Treaty System and the Antarctic region.
  13. Continue to support the conservation of Antarctic marine ecosystems through the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, including through the establishment of a representative system of marine protected areas in East Antarctica.

L.   International Development Cooperation

By working in partnership, Australia and France aim to help people living in poverty and assist developing countries achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Australia and France reaffirm their commitment to promote prosperity, reduce poverty, enhance stability, improve development effectiveness and strengthen cooperation on international development. They recognise the value of working together to ensure development activities have greater impact, reach and influence. To these ends they will:

  1. Seek opportunities for responsible Ministers and other senior officials to conduct regular discussions on international development.
  2. Exchange views and coordinate positions on development issues under discussion in regional and global forums, including the G20, the OECD DAC, UN development agencies and multilateral development banks.
  3. Identify opportunities for dialogue and cooperation with African partners to promote prosperity, peace and security on the continent.
  4. Explore opportunities for enhanced cooperation between Australia and France in the Pacific region.

M. Consular and crisis management cooperation

Noting the close consular cooperation between Australia and France, the two Governments will continue to implement the 2015 Arrangement for Consular Crisis Cooperation between Australia and France, including:

  1. Sharing experiences in crisis and consular management through exchanges and secondments of foreign ministry officials.
  2. Implementing and reviewing mutual cooperation provisions for consular support to their respective nationals in times of crisis.
  3. Continuing dialogue and exchange of information on threat and risk assessment in zones of special interest for both parties.

Signed at Melbourne, Australia, on this 3rd day of March, 2017

Done in duplicate in English and French.

For the Government of Australia

For the Government of the French Republic



Last Updated: 3 March 2017