Skip to main content

France

Flag of France

France country brief - Bilateral Fact Sheet

Key engagement

Australia and France work closely bilaterally and through regional and multilateral fora. The Joint Statement by Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP and French President Emmanuel Macron on 1 July 2022, outlines the broad agenda for bilateral cooperation. Regular contact between Australian and French ministers and senior officials continues to advance the bilateral partnership. 

Outlook

On 1 July 2022, Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP and French President Emmanuel Macron met in Paris to reaffirm their commitment to building a closer and stronger bilateral relationship based on mutual trust and respect. The leaders agreed to establish a roadmap for cooperation based on three pillars: defence and security; resilience and climate action; and education and culture.

Bilateral relationship

Australia's relationship with France is underpinned by strong and enduring historical links. There has been consular and diplomatic engagement since 1842, and cooperation in both the First World War and the Second World War, when thousands of Australian and French soldiers fought side by side to defend shared values of liberty, democracy, rule of law and protection of human rights. These values are still at the core of our societies and underpin our bilateral and international engagement.

Australia and France work together in many fields, such as security and environment, and have shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region. We both support a rules-based international order. Dialogue and practical cooperation on key global issues has strengthened in recent years, including through our common membership of major fora such as the G20 and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

The bilateral trade and investment relationship between Australia and France is strong and opportunities exist in many areas.

Fast facts

French visitors to Australia (year ending June 2022)
18,000
Resident Australian population born in France (2021 census)
36,019
Australian residents of French descent (2021 census)
148,927
French working holiday maker arrivals (year ending 30 June 2022)
10,087
French students in Australia (January to July 2022)
2,483

High level engagement

  • September 2022 – Foreign Minister Wong met with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 23 September 2022.
  • September 2022 – Trade and Tourism Minister Farrell met with France's Minister-Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Olivier Becht, in Canberra on 19 September 2022.
  • September 2022 – Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Marles visited France on 1 September 2022.
  • July 2022 – Prime Minister Albanese visited Paris on 1 July 2022 and met with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Agreements with France

Australia has numerous bilateral agreements with France, including on education, double taxation, defence and cultural cooperation. The bilateral agreements are available from the Australian Treaties Database.

Indo-Pacific engagement

Australia and France are nations of both the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. We share a long history of cooperation in the region, including with French territories such as New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna and Réunion Island. We share a vision for a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, enabled through dialogue and joint initiatives with regional partners. Australia warmly welcomes France's cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and its strategy for further engaging the region, as well as the European Union's Indo-Pacific Strategy and its commitment to long-term investment in the region.

Defence and security cooperation

Australia and France participate in various bilateral and multilateral training exercises to deepen our ability to operate together, especially in our region. Our security partnership includes a focus on the Pacific and Southern Oceans, including for emergency and disaster relief and countering illegal fishing. Our militaries work closely together under the France-Australia-New Zealand Arrangement (FRANZ), to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the South Pacific. 

Australia and France have developed a good working relationship in the counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism fields. France is a valuable partner in these areas, with significant expertise and experience in combating terrorism, prosecuting terrorists and dealing with returning foreign fighters and radicalised lone actors. Australia co-funds the Franco-Ivorian International Counter-Terrorism Academy, being delivered in partnership between France and Côte d'Ivoire.

The arts

Australia and France have a dynamic relationship in all fields of the arts, with Australian artists enthusiastic to work in France, and many French counterparts keen to explore Australia's vibrant culture. Australia has made a significant contribution to the Musée du Quai Branly, a museum dedicated to the world's indigenous arts and cultures, which has major pieces of First Nations art installed on the roof and throughout the museum. The Australian Government's Australia now program in France in 2021-22 showcased the diversity, vibrancy and innovation of Australian culture to audiences in France.

Education, tourism and other people-to-people links

Australian and French people-to-people links continue to grow. France is an important academic, research and exchange partner, and there are many agreements and memoranda of understanding between Australian and French universities. The Australia-France Alumni Network (AFAN) facilitates links between French graduates of Australian institutions. The network is administered by the Australian Embassy in Paris.

The Working Holiday Maker arrangement, signed between France and Australia in 2003, has contributed to advancing the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Over 330,000 French citizens have visited Australia under the Working Holiday Maker arrangement since it commenced, contributing to cross-cultural exchange and interpersonal links between the two countries.

Business

There are over 600 French companies employing more than 60,000 people in Australia. French companies are active in the infrastructure, defence, banking and renewable energy sectors. Increasingly, Australian companies are establishing themselves in France to unlock opportunities in the French and broader European markets.

More information on Austrade and doing business in France.

Wartime commemorations

The legacy of Australian involvement on French soil in the First and Second World Wars plays an important role in the bilateral relationship. 46,000 Australians lost their lives on the Western Front during the First World War. Each year many Australians travel to the Western Front to participate in commemorative activities and visit key battle and memorial locations, and military cemeteries. 

Joint commemorative activities, such as the annual ANZAC Day ceremonies at Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt, continue to be important elements of our bilateral engagement. The Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front includes key sites developed in France and Belgium, in partnership with local authorities as an enduring legacy of Australia's contribution. The trail honours the courage and sacrifice of more than 295,000 Australians who served on the Western Front. 

The Australian Government's Sir John Monash Centre at the Australian National Memorial in Villers-Bretonneux is a world-class interpretive centre using cutting edge technology to share the stories of Australian soldiers from the First World War. It provides a central point to the Australian Remembrance Trail, welcoming visitors all year round.

Back to top