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Austria

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Austria country brief

Key engagement

Australia and Austria first established diplomatic relations in 1952 and celebrated 70 years of bilateral relations in 2022. Australia and Austria are like-minded countries that cooperate in multilateral fora to strengthen human rights, gender equality and nuclear non-proliferation.

Bilateral relations

In September 2021, Australia an Austria signed a Strategic Cooperation Arrangement. The Arrangement provides a framework for 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.

Foreign policy

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 where many UN agencies are headquartered (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

Foreign and European Policy Report

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. There is potential for new commercial opportunities in the green technology, innovation, defence, and digitisation sectors.

Trade and investment

Two-way trade has been generally increasing over the past decade, though with a slight drop during the pandemic. In 2022-23, two-way goods and services trade between Australia and Austria was valued at $2.2 billion, with the balance of trade strongly in Austria's favour. Austrian firms have made significant investments in Australia over the past few years, with potential for further growth.

Trade and economic fact sheet [PDF 194.45 KB]

Business

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, Rheinmetall's Austrian subsidiary is supplying a major order of military vehicles to Australia.

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); European Lithium (a promising lithium mine exploration project) and ADX Energy (oil and gas exploration and production).

Austrade's Frankfurt office is responsible for Austria.

Fast Facts

Austrian visitors to Australia (2022-2023)
11,174
Australian resident returns from Austria (2022-2023)
2,000
Resident Australian population born in Austria (2021 census)
14,403
Australian residents of Austrian descent (2021 census)
48,797
Austrian working holidaymakers (2022-2023)
360
Austrian student arrivals in Australia (2022-2023)
380

High level engagement

May 2023 — Austrian Federal Minister of Labour and Economy, Martin Kocher, visited Australia. In Canberra, he attended meetings with Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O'Connor MP, Minister for Industry and Science, the Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, the Hon Tony Burke MP and Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell.

February 2023 — Austrian Parliamentarian, Dr Reinhold Lopatka, led an Austrian Parliamentary Friendship Group visit to Sydney and Canberra. The group met with Australian parliamentarians, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Milton Dick MP, and Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell.

January 2023 — Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, met with Austrian Climate Minister, Leonore Gewessler.

January 2023 — Assistant Foreign Minister, the Hon Tim Watts MP, met with Austrian Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal.

2022 — Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, and Austrian Climate Minister, Leonore Gewessler, launched the Net-Zero Mission in Pittsburgh.

2021 – Former Foreign Minister Senator the Hon Marise Payne visited Austria and held meetings with Chancellor Nehammer and Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Alexander 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 a number of bilateral agreements with Austria, including on social security, double taxation, mutual legal assistance and aviation.Texts are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

In February 2018, a Work and Holiday Visa arrangement entered into effect.

Public diplomacy

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.

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.

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.

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