Skip to main content

Malta

Flag of Malta

Malta country brief

Bilateral relationship

Australia and Malta enjoy a strong bilateral relationship built on enduring people-to-people links. Australia is home to the largest Maltese diaspora in the world, with 234,402 persons born in Malta and claiming Maltese ancestry (2021 Census). The first Maltese-born people arrived in Australia as convicts in 1810, followed by the first free settlers in 1838. The peak period of migration to Australia occurred in the 1950s and 1960s.

Australia established an immigration presence in Malta in the 1950s and opened its High Commission in 1967. Malta has a High Commission in Canberra (established in 1964) and Consulates-General in Sydney and Melbourne. Honorary Consulates have also been established in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

At the international level, Australia and Malta have a number of common interests, including a shared support of the international rules-based order through active participation in multilateral organisations such as the Commonwealth and the United Nations.

The President of the Republic of Malta, H. E. Dr George Vella, visited Australia in October 2023. Whilst here, President Vella met with Prime Minister Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley. The visit highlighted the underlying strength of the relationship between Australia and Malta.

Foreign policy

Since accession to the EU in 2004 and the Eurozone in 2008, Malta has devoted considerable energy to developing its relations with EU institutions and member states. Malta held the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in 2017.

Malta has a long-standing, active commitment to multilateralism. It supports international cooperation, notably through the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the EU and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).  Malta has been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two year term from January 2023 – December 2024 and has assumed the 2024 Chairperson of the OSCE.

Fast facts

Maltese visitors to Australia (2022)
1,250
Australian resident returns from Malta (2022)
5,360
Australian residents born in Malta (2021 Census)
35,413
Australian residents of Maltese descent (2021 Census)
198,989
Maltese students in Australia (2022)
23
Maltese working holidaymakers in Australia (2022)
70

High level engagements

  • 2023 – President of the Republic of Malta. H. E. Dr George Vella, visited Australia and met with Prime Minister Albanese and Governor-General Hurley.
  • 2018 – Malta’s Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat and Mr Carmelo Abela, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, visited Australia for bilateral meetings and to attend the opening of the Commonwealth Games
  • 2015 – then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Agreements with Malta

Australia and Malta have bilateral agreements in place covering immigration (1970), double taxation (1985), health services (1988), social security (1991 and revised in 2004), working holidays (1996) and air services (1996).

Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

Trade and investment

Trade with Malta is modest, due to a combination of distance and the small size of the Maltese market. In 2022, two-way goods and services trade was valued at $116.9 million. Imports from Malta were valued at $104.3 million and mainly comprised services, medical instruments, and musical instruments. Exports from Australia were valued at $12.6 million and mainly comprised services, margarine, and education-related travel. The stock of Australian investments in Malta was valued at $33 million.

Malta's business landscape consists of a consumer market of over 520,000 people, including foreign workers, and a vibrant services sector especially in tourism, maritime transhipment and IT.

Favourable operating costs, low corporate taxes, and a highly-educated, English-speaking, low-cost workforce, offer incentives to foreign investors and make the services sector the prime driver of economic growth in Malta. Malta also regulated the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in 2018.

Further opportunities may exist for Australian exporters and investors in areas such as EU-funded infrastructure projects, joint ventures with Maltese partners accessing third country markets in the resources sector and the services sectors, particularly fintech and i-gaming. Malta may also offer opportunities for Australian expertise in environmental and water resource management, and in emerging technologies for water and energy supply.

More economic and trade information.

ANZAC links

Malta played a significant role in the First World War. Around 800 Maltese directly supported the Gallipoli campaign. Malta was known as ‘the Nurse of the Mediterranean’ as many thousands of sick and wounded allied servicemen were evacuated to, and treated in, Malta. Australian servicemen and women were also involved in the defence of Malta during the Second World War.

There are 202 Australians and 79 New Zealanders buried on the island. ANZAC Day has been commemorated in Malta since 1916. The annual ceremony is open to the public, and usually held at Pieta Military cemetery.

Visitors to Malta can follow the 'ANZAC Experience in Malta' Self-Guided Tours.

Australian High Commission in Malta

Ta ‘Xbiex Terrace
Ta ‘Xbiex XBX 1034, Malta
Ph: +356 2133 8201
Email: consular.malta@dfat.gov.au

Travel

See Smartraveller for Information on travelling to Malta.

Back to top