Australian High Commissioner visits Rock

From yesterday’s Chronicle by Gabriella Parana who highlights the visit of Alexander Downer to Gibraltar. This is another example of Gibraltar’s forward thinking around our economy.

Australia’s financial sector “could develop an interest” in Gibraltar, UK High Commissioner of Australia Alexander Downer said during a fact-finding visit to the Rock. Mr Downer was speaking at a press conference at the University of Gibraltar where he outlined why he had decided to research the Rock. This is the first time a UK High Commissioner of Australia has visited Gibraltar

Mr Downer described how Australian firms engaged in business with Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, adding that perhaps some businesses would also be interested in Gibraltar.The focus of the visit. he added, was not Brexit-related as it is not a preoccupation for Australia while the relationship between the UK and Australia would remain very close. “I think there is every chance that Australian financial firms could become more Interested in Gibraltar” Mr Downer said.

One aspect of Gibraltar’s economic activity however, has proved controversial in Australia in recent months. and Mr Downer didn’t shy away from making that clear.
“Gibraltar invests heavily in online gaming and this is a sensitive social issue In Australia,” he said
“Gambling and online gaming is a very sensitive issue and quite heavily regulated”

However he said it had not surprised him to find Australians working within the online gaming industry in Gibraltar “1 think our relationship with Gibraltar is going to be a very naturally easy, uncomplicated relationship,” Mr Downer said. Mr Downer said Australia was also Interested in building relationships with the University at Gibraltar and Australian universities.
“We are imagining that Australian students might be able to come and spend a semester here in Gibraltar.” he said “lt is a very attractive proposition for them. Gibraltar is a sunny and pretty place and very strategically located and a very interesting location in the world, Just adjacent to Southern Spain‘ and Africa.”
He also underscored the View of the Australian Government that the people of Gibraltar should be able to determine their own future and supported this right. Mr Downer had previously met Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia in September and his visit included a number of briefings and working meetings on a wide range of subjects, including Brexit, future trade and the economy.
“Gibraltar is gearing up for a post-Brexit future, and it is only natural that we want to do business with those countries that share our core values.” Dr Garcia said.
‘Australia‘ a respected fellow member of the Commonwealth shares our commitment to fairness, democracy, human rights, to standing up for the underdog, to freedom and justice, and to self-determination.”
Dr Garcia added he looks {or ward to developing a long lasting and meaningful relationship between Gibraltar and Australia ahead at preparations to leave the European Union.
Dr Garcia delivered a speech at an official dinner held welcoming Mr Downer that covered the themes of Australia’s support for Gibraltar at the United Nations throughout the 1960s and for the first sovereignty Referendum of 1967, and Gibraltar‘s economy, in particular the importance of Gibraltar’s respected and growing financial services Centre and expertise in online gaming.