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An Australian Perspective on the Anglo-Australian Relationship: Migration, Investment and Economic Growth

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In a recent Boris Johnson article in the Daily Telegraph, he professed his love for Australia and called on Britain to forge and intensify its relationship with its Commonwealth partner to deliver economic growth for the UK. Whilst it may be difficult to acknowledge in the aftermath of a third consecutive Ashes defeat, but through investment and migration the UK continues to be a key partner for Australia. By strengthening this relationship we can undoubtedly help secure a brighter, more prosperous future on both sides of the world.

Some of Australia's successes have already been well documented; the country is currently enjoying an unprecedented 22 years of economic growth, and is widely accepted as being a great place to live. In fact, since 2011 Melbourne has been ranked the most liveable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Both of these factors are undoubtedly a huge pull for UK citizens, and Australia is reaping the rewards.

The State of Victoria's focus on attracting migrants, including from the UK, has helped secure Melbourne's place as Australia's fastest growing city for the last 11 years, with a population of 4.3 million people. According to the 2011 census, the number of Britons in Victoria grew to over 213,000, and last year Victoria welcomed approximately a further 5000 migrants from Britain alone. Consequently, and unsurprisingly, the number of jobs available in Melbourne has soared and this year overtook the number available in Sydney, bringing economic growth with it.

However, as Mr Johnson recognises, Australia also presents a great opportunity for UK to strengthen its links with the growing economy of Oceania. Of course, Australia's economic growth has benefited from the mining boom over the last decade; Western Australia currently accounts for a quarter of the world's iron-ore production, attracting significant investment from the UK and the US. And regardless of trends and cycles, there are still many opportunities to explore in this sector.

But the Australian economy is far more diverse than mining, and British businesses have been quicker than most to realise this. Between 2007 and 2012, UK companies invested over A$31billion in Australia, creating almost 40,000 jobs in the process. In this period, UK companies GlaxoSmith Kline, Topshop, BBC's Lonely Planet, Experian, SAB Miller and Invensys have all established or maintained national headquarters in Victoria, where there is no mining sector.

It is easy to understand why companies are investing in Victoria given Melbourne has three per cent of Australia's land mass yet contributes 25 per cent of Australia's GDP, and Victoria's economy is larger than that that of Denmark, New Zealand or Singapore. With a knowledge-based and services-based economy spanning finance, healthcare and life sciences, ICT and tech, defence and aerospace, and beyond, we are increasingly seeing companies, investors, and skilled and educated migrants chose Victoria.

Migration is about people, ideas, investment and future relationships, and is of course key to the economic success of Australia and the UK. However, the broader Anglo-Australian relationship is being redefined though this new investment and business opportunities; and it only just the beginning. Australia and Victoria remain open for business from the individuals and companies with big bucks, and canny British investors and entrepreneurs, and could help shape the future of the relationship for decades to come.

As Boris Johnson highlighted, the historical and contemporary links between Britain and Australia have cultivated a deep cultural and emotional connection. Based on current evidence, there is plenty to suggest that a deep and valuable economic connection between the two also exists and is evolving. By working together to explore and strengthen this connection, we can re-establish our positions as world leading economies.