Australia and Spain will celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations over the coming 12 months, marking the formal start of our relations in 1967 through to the opening of our Embassies in 1968.
Australia and Spain share a solid foundation, with far more in common than many people realise. From the same easy going and welcoming nature of our people, to our countries' natural gifts that help attract millions of tourists each year while providing for the production of some of the best quality wines in the world, to similar world views demonstrated by our shared commitments to trade liberalisation and combating terrorism.
Our relations have been steadily expanding and over the last 50 years Australia and Spain have become as close as we could hope to be.
- The commissioning of two Royal Australian Navy landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships designed by Navantia (HMAS Canberra in 2014 and HMAS Adelaide in 2015) provides a tangible example of our substantial Defence ties. By 2021, Spanish companies will have designed or built over 100,000 tonnes of Royal Australian Navy shipping.
- We will welcome more than 50,000 Spanish tourists to Australia this year and 75,000 Australians will visit Spain.
- In June Australia increased our Work and Holiday Maker programme from 600 to 1500 places per annum for young Spaniards to come and work and holiday in Australia and for young Australians to experience the wonders of Spain.
- Spanish is the most popular European language taught in Australia.
- Australia's infrastructure, energy and transport networks have been greatly enhanced by Spanish companies. Many of Spain's largest infrastructure companies now have a presence in Australia. Spain's economic recovery has attracted Australian investment, and we aim to encourage further interest from Australian companies to consider opportunities in Spain.
This year of celebration will reinforce Spain as Australia's natural partner within the European Union. We will work towards the continued expansion of relations, with opportunities for deepening our cooperation in the areas of industrial technology, education, science, research, cybersecurity, start-ups and of course, business and investment.