Dubai and Australia: A partnership built to last

Georgina Lavers
Georgina Lavers

The recent announcement that Godolphin Stables is going to Australia proves once again that the Dubai/Australia partnership is ripe for picking

The Dubai and Australia relationship is one that has spanned back through the decades, for reasons of trade, travel, and culture – and the partnership looks set to be fruitful.

From a purely economic point of view, Australia identifies the UAE as its largest market in the Gulf – and trade between the two is significant. Recent figures from the Australian Trade Commission stated imports from the UAE to Australia were Dh12.9 billion  (£2.06 billion), and exports to the UAE were Dh9.03 billion (£1.44 billion).

The Australian Trade and Investment Minister, Andrew Robb, visited the UAE in April to promote commercial opportunities for Australia. He said of the visit: “There is a strong fit between demand in the Gulf and Australia’s strengths. The UAE is investing in infrastructure and restructuring its economy; creating opportunities in sectors where Australia has a proven track record.”

Robb met with senior Ministers in the UAE to advocate for a resumption of negotiations for a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, emphasising that Australia is open for business and that it is committed to deepening its economic engagement with region.

That specifically took the form of investment funds, which Robb met with over the course of his visit. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have large sovereign wealth funds with total assets of Dh3.66 trillion (£584 billion), and are looking to make new international investments into food security, agriculture and infrastructure projects.

There has also been good growth in aviation links between Australia and the Gulf. Two of the world's leading airlines, Qantas and Emirates, decided to form a global partnership, and between the two airlines, there are flights 14 times a day from Australia to Dubai, providing 'one-stop' access to destinations across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Flying through Dubai on Qantas and Emirates flights from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, you can then connect to more than 65 cities in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. This includes seven daily services to London Heathrow, and daily flights to Paris, Rome, Munich, Amsterdam, Manchester and Moscow – a total of over 800 flights per week.

Beyond travel and trade, the Dubai-Australia partnership has recently extended to sport.

The Maktoum family's private thoroughbred horseracing stable, Godolphin, is to have a permanent base in Australia – a further investment into the country by Darley Stud.

John Ferguson, bloodstock advisor to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, said that over the last fifteen years, Sheikh Mohammed has led Darley's development and investment in Australia with incredible success and this announcement was a natural next step.

Godolphin's blue silks
The establishment of a permanent presence in Australia is not only testament to Sheikh Mohammed's on-going commitment to the racing industry but also to the country at largeImage: T Jones

"Godolphin represents the crown jewels of Sheikh Mohammed's horseracing operations and the establishment of a permanent presence in Australia is not only testament to his on-going commitment to the racing industry but also to the country at large. We have some fantastic horses in Australia, and with John O'Shea at the helm, we're in good hands."

Trainer John O'Shea was tasked with the job of head trainer, and horses under his tutelage will race in the royal blue silks from 1 August.

O'Shea said: "Godolphin is the most prestigious thoroughbred stable in the world and one of the most successful. His Highness is a true horseman himself and I consider it an honour to be given this responsibility.”