Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR)

COALAR Strategic Plan 2014-2017

The Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) was created in March 2001 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade, for an initial period of three years. Following a review in 2004, COALAR's mandate was extended for a further three-year period to 30 June 2007. In 2007 the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade decided that the Council would have on-going status with effect from 7 February 2007 with the Council no longer subject to periodic review.


COALAR is a key advisory body, and instrument, in the Government's engagement with Latin America. Under the supervision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade and Investment – exercised on a day-to-day basis by the Executive of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – it provides advice on a grants program and other activities related to Latin America to advance Australia's business, cultural and diplomatic objectives. COALAR's Executive Committee brings together accomplished representatives inter alia from business, government, academia and the arts to ensure that Australia’s approach to Latin America benefits from a wide variety of experiences and insights, and to enhance links among business and government.

COALAR seeks to complement other government programs and private sector initiatives, leveraging off them where appropriate, and employing its resources to enhance their strategic effectiveness. COALAR supports innovative activities that have clear outcomes, seeking to ensure the benefits of such activities are spread as widely as possible, with a special focus on assisting the initiation of activities that are likely to prove self-sustaining (for example, through 'seed-funding'). A key objective of COALAR is to identify potential for, and to build, sustainable and strategically relevant networks between Australia and Latin America in the most potentially productive areas.

COALAR expects to support industry specific events including contributing to Austrade's activities. COALAR will look to sponsor events which showcase "Australia Unlimited" by promoting Australia's branding across industries. COALAR aims to promote Australia as a centre for global investment in infrastructure, and as a regional financial centre.

As a rule, COALAR will not support activities that directly benefit the commercial interests of a single enterprise, such as market research or narrow promotional activities, or where other sources of funding (including commercial funding) would be more appropriate and readily available. All activities supported by COALAR must be clearly seen to support COALAR's objectives, and meet appropriate standards of probity, efficiency and value for money.

Mission Statement

To achieve these objectives, the members of COALAR will undertake a range of outreach activities – including personal contact with key decision makers in governments and business. The Council will in particular – but not exclusively – focus on promoting activities that grow linkages and look to the potential for business opportunities in the areas of:

Goals and strategies

Goal 1

To strengthen links between Australia and Latin America, particularly in the areas of mutual economic support (encompassing two way trade and investment), education and research, sporting culture and tourism, aligned closely with the policy of economic diplomacy.


Engage key government, business and education decision makers to further develop relations between Australia and Latin America in priority areas.

Support two-way visits by high level parliamentarians, officials, business representatives, journalists, young professionals and academics.

Build sustainable networks between Australia and Latin America in COALAR's priority areas.

Goal 2

To leverage COALAR’s extensive network of business stakeholders to encourage closer engagement at a corporate level between Australia and Latin America.


Promote and support economic diplomacy – and affiliated activities – that facilitate business opportunities in Latin America.

Facilitate opportunities for Australian business and government collaboration in priority areas.

Goal 3

To increase engagement with and understanding of Australia in Latin America and of Latin America in Australia.


Develop, maintain and disseminate a fully contemporary narrative around how Australia and Latin American countries are evolving, how we view each other and what we have to offer each other.

Support activities to promote deeper cultural understanding in both Australia and Latin America.

Support public diplomacy and other activities in COALAR's priority areas in Latin America to showcase Australia as a diverse and dynamic society, which has social values and community approaches that can also be usefully applied in Latin American countries.

Participate in and promote public events, academic conferences and other activities which focus on strengthening links with Latin America.

Goal 4

To provide advice to government about opportunities that will enhance the Australia-Latin America relationship including tourism, education, visa arrangements, financial and taxation agreements and aviation policy.

Business Plan

The Council will develop an annual business plan of activities. Activities COALAR's Strategic Plan 2014-2017 activities will include: