Since the start of the diplomatic mission between Australia and the United Arab Emirates in 2004, relations between the two countries have grown closer. The number of Australian companies located in the UAE has increased six-fold in this period, from 50 to 300, and the number of Australian nationals settling in the UAE is now four times greater than at the start of the mission.
"Australia has had a diplomatic presence in the UAE since 2004. Since then, until 2022, the diplomatic relationship has deepened considerably. We have a bigger presence, diplomatically in Abu Dhabi and Dubai," Australia's Governor General David Hurley told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
David Hurley confessed that Australia and the United Arab Emirates are currently in talks to create the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). According to the governor, the aim of the agreements is to create "a longer-term trading relationship that will be beneficial to both sides; it will be an important platform on which to build for the future", and he assured that the two governments will continue to "build people-to-people links", he said. Australians living and working in the UAE hold very important positions. He believes that people-to-people ties will help develop bilateral ties in all other areas.
The Governor used his interview with the Emirates News Agency to highlight the UAE's social openness and its innovative and open-minded approach to the world: "I think every time I come to the UAE I see something new and I see something that maybe I've seen, but I haven't thought about before. You know, the important thing for me is the number of women ministers in the government that we meet who are very competent in their portfolios. I think it's a good sign that the society has evolved!"
In the early years, Australian companies targeting production in the UAE were almost exclusively focused on exploiting traditional mineral resources and primary food products, but "we have now diversified into a huge range of advanced technologies and education".
As a result of Australian companies offering jobs in the UAE, the community of Australian nationals has grown from 4,000 in the UAE in 2004 to 15,000 today.
David Hurley visited Abu Dhabi to meet Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, and took the opportunity to congratulate him on his recent election as President of the UAE. During the meeting, the Australian governor also paid his respects to the head of state on the recent passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who died on 13 May 2022.
Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan was elected President of the UAE on 3 November 2004, taking over from his father, Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, who had died the previous day. The recently deceased sheikh held the posts of prime minister, emir and ruler of Abu Dhabi.
On the other hand, David Hurley is the representative of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. In practice he is also the head of state of Australia and has constitutional and ceremonial duties. In addition, the Governor-General is the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force.