Austria country brief
Australia and Austria first established diplomatic relations in 1952 and celebrate 70 years of bilateral relations in 2022. Australia and Austria are like-minded countries that cooperate on a range of issues of mutual interest, particularly in multilateral institutions.
In September 2021, Australia and Austria signed a Strategic Cooperation Arrangement. The Agreement will drive ambition on deepening collaboration across several priority areas, including: trade and investment; foreign and security policy; climate and energy; education; and culture and sport. Australia has had links with Austria since the beginning of European settlement. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, Austrians visited Australia as members of scientific, diplomatic and religious missions. Most Austrian migration to Australia took place between the end of the Second World War and 1960.
Austria's foreign policy is centralised around its support for a strong European Union, United Nations, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Council of Europe. Vienna hosts one of the four major office sites of the United Nations with many UN agencies headquartered there (including UNODC, IAEA, CTBTO, UNIDO, INCB, UNCITRAL and UNOOSA). Austria has been a European Union Member State since January 1995 (and was President of the Council of the European Union for the third time in 2018). While maintaining its neutrality, Austria joined the NATO Partnership for Peace framework in 1995 and has deployed personnel in various security and peacekeeping operations and missions. Austria prioritises climate policy and sustainable development in international forums.
Federal Ministry Republic of Austria: European and International Affairs
Economic diplomacy and outlook
Australia continues to seek opportunities to promote Australian business and raise awareness of potential benefits of increased trade between Australia and Europe, including Austria. This work has intensified since the launch of the Australia-EU trade agreement negotiations in June 2018.
Trade and investment
Two-way trade has been generally increasing over the past decade, but with a slight drop during the pandemic years. In 2020-21, two-way goods and services trade between Australia and Austria was valued at $2.0 billion, with the balance of trade strongly in Austria's favour. The current investment relationship is limited, but has potential for growth.
Many Austrian firms have operations in Australia, including: Andritz (processing machinery); Frequentis (communication and information systems); Fronius (solar energy); Kapsch TrafficCom (traffic management); OMV (gas and oil exploration); Plasser & Theurer (railway sector); Rhomberg (railway sector); Strabag (road & tunneling); Vamed (hospital management and operations); and Voestalpine (high performance metals). Under an ADF contract, Austria's Rheinmetall subsidiary is supplying a major order of military vehicles.
Some of the larger Australian business operations in Austria include IFM Investors (a major shareholder of Vienna airport); Macquarie Investment Management (major energy provider investment); Cochlear (hearing devices); and European Lithium (a promising lithium mine exploration project).
Austrade's Frankfurt office is responsible for Austria.
- Austrian visitors to Australia (2021-2022)
- Australian resident returns from Austria (2021-2022)
- Resident Australian population born in Austria (2020 census)
- 14, 403
- Australian residents of Austrian descent (2020 census)
- Austrian working holidaymakers (2021-2022)
- Austrian student arrivals in Australia (2021-2022)
High level engagement
2021 – Former Foreign Minister Marise Payne visited Austria and held meetings with Chancellor Nehammer and Foreign Minister Schallenberg
2020 and 2021 – Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz engaged regularly through the Smart COVID-19 Management Leaders Group.
2019 – Former Governor-General, General Sir Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC, met with HE Dr Alexander Van der Bellen, Austria's Federal President, in Vienna.
Agreements with Austria
Australia has several bilateral agreements with Austria, including on social security, double taxation, mutual legal assistance and aviation.
In February 2018, a Work and Holiday Visa arrangement entered into effect.
Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.
Austria is an attractive destination for Australian artists and musicians. In addition to Australians being members of internationally acclaimed music institutions such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the State Opera, Australian groups such as the Australian Chamber Orchestra perform regularly in Austria. Australian artists and technologists regularly participate in the Ars Electronica Festival which focuses on new media art.
The Australian Embassy in Vienna hosts and supports a number of activities throughout the year to commemorate international days, showcase Australian culture and strengthen people-to-people links between Australia and Austria. Circa Circus performed in 2022 and 2019. Philanthropist Simon Mordant curated exhibitions of Australian contemporary art in 2021 and 2020. In 2019, activities included a two-month Australia film special in Vienna and performances of the Sydney Dance Company. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed in 2018. In 2017, the Australian Gondwana Indigenous Children's Choir (GICC) performed joint concerts with the Vienna Boys Choir in Vienna with a return visit of the Vienna Boys Choir for performances with the GICC in Cairns and Sydney a few months later.
Australian Embassy in Vienna
See Smartraveller for Information on travelling to Austria.