ممثلية المملكة العربية السعودية في استراليا Australia About Australia Australia Information Australian Information Page Image Image Caption Page ContentThe continent of Australia is an island which lies south of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and in between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, with a width from east to west about four thousand kilometres, from north to south three thousand and two hundred kilometres and most of its internal land is flat with a small population.The vast majority of the population, around twenty one million people, lives on the narrow eastern coast and extending to the south-east coast. Australia's population descended from more than one hundred and thirty different nationalities, mostly located in the coastal cities. The official language of Australia is English and the currency of Australia is the Australian dollar which is equal to almost four Saudi Riyals.Islamic Side:Muslims in Australia, are officially estimated at approximately 400 thousand, and have special humanitarian and religious links with Saudi Arabia. This is because of its religious leadership in the Arab and Islamic worlds and also because it is the home of the Two Holy Mosques.Thousands of Muslim Australians annually visit the Kingdom to perform the religious pilgrimage Hajj and Umrah, whereby the Embassy of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Canberra provide all avenues for them to facilitate their access to the appropriate visas. On the other hand, the Kingdom has contributed to the construction and financing of a large number of mosques and Islamic schools across Australia, which Australian Muslims value and respects in return.Economical and Cultural Side:The data from the Australian Ministry of Foreign Trade shows that the volume of exports and imports between Australia and Saudi Arabia is increasing steadily, where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2010, represented the second largest export market for Australia in the Middle East and the value of exported commodity exceeded $ 1.7 billion Australian dollars, and the Kingdom occupied in the same year rank No. 17 as the largest global markets for Australia. The main Australian exports from commodities and products to Saudi Arabia are cars and barley, and meat products (except beef), dairy products, as well as vehicle spare parts and accessories.In the other hand, the total Saudi exports to Australia amounted to 631 million Australian dollars in 2009 and $ 400 million during the year 2010 the crude oil, formed nearly half of these exports in addition to the petrochemicals materials, mainly fertilizers, propane and butane in liquid as well as polymers of ethylene, through the Saudi Corporation for basic Industries (SABIC). There is also cooperation between the two countries in the agricultural field and the field of exploration, mining and gas projects in addition to rail, water and electricity.Cultural Aspect:The National Multicultural Festival is one of Australia's most important cultural events, which started in 2007. The festival is held in the month of February each year and it is a gathering of a wide array of different nationalities in the Australian capital Canberra. Each country gets a stall to display their culture, folklore, arts and their traditional food. Several theatres and dances are also held in the same place. The Embassy of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has been participating in the festival since it started, whereby a tent is assigned to Saudi Arabia which displays many Saudi posters and heritage artefacts that highlight the development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Visitors are also invited to drink Arabic coffee and taste some dates. In addition the Festival includes the a Saudi traditional dance performed by Saudi students who are studying in Australia.Political Side:Australia's Embassy in the Kingdom Opened in 1974. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia opened its Embassy in Canberra in 1983 and in 2000 the Saudi Embassy moved to its new building in the Federal Capital Canberra and it was officially opened by His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and the former Foreign Minister of Australia Alexander Donner.The development of political relations, in recent years has passed through many great steps:- The formation of the Saudi Australian Friendship Parliamentary Committee.- Resumption of the meetings of the Australian Saudi Joint Committee held its eighth session in Riyadh in November 2006 after a break of about ten years.- Activation of the talks between the two countries to sign an agreement to encourage and protect investment and to prevent double taxation, which will contribute to encouraging the establishment of joint production projects and provide the appropriate legal framework to encourage investment and strengthen the confidence of investors.- Re-opening of the Consular Section in the Australian Embassy in Riyadh.