The Australia High Commission in Ghana was joined by its citizens all over the country to mark the ‘Australia Day Celebration’, an annual celebration held to reflect on contemporary Australia and acknowledge its history
This year’s event, held at the residence of the High Commissioner, was more of a mourning one rather than a celebration as they took time to reflect on the losses recorded in recent bushfires which have ravaged about 10.5 million hectares, nearly half the size of Ghana.
Australia High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, enumerated the casualties suffered at the hands of the fire and extended his gratitude to the rest of the world who came to the aid of Australians to battle with the fire.
“So far, the loss of human life has been relatively small – about 30 people have lost their lives; but the impact on our wildlife and the loss of habitat is massive. It is estimated that between half a billion and one billion animals have died.
“Sadly, this morning we awoke to the news that three firefighters from the United States, who had come to Australia as part of the international assistance efforts, were killed when the air tanker they were flying crashed while on a water-bombing operation in Southern New South Wales,” he said.
Furthermore, he reiterated the need to keep alive the cordial bilateral relationship between the two countries; stating that Australia’s relationship with Ghana is a long one that is based on many shared interests, including democracy, commitment to peace and security, and a belief in the importance of trade and investment.
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, mourned with the Australians – expressing that the government of Ghana has noted with great concern the recent outbreak of prolonged bushfires which have claimed lives, displaced many people and ravaged the beautiful landscape of Australia.
“The government acknowledges the enormous loss of resources during this regrettable natural disaster, and pledges its continuous support for all international interventions to help Australia overcome this period of difficulty.
“Australian mining companies are well-known for their professionalism and use of state of the art equipment, and have supported mining in Ghana over the years. The government of Ghana would appreciate Australia’s continued support in the areas of training and sharing best practices in order to equip Ghanaian miners on safe mining procedures,” she said.
Commenting on the upcoming presidential elections in December 2020, she pledged that government is committed to ensuring a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election, with respect for human rights and rights of all political parties.
The Australia National Day Celebrations were attended by diplomats in the country, including the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Tsutomu Himeno, and Colombian Ambassador to Ghana, Claudia Turbay Quintero, among others.
About Australia National Day
Australia’s National Day on 26 January marks the day in 1788 when the first fleet of 11 convict ships arrived in Sydney Harbour from England. It significantly represents the beginning of the first permanent settlement of Europeans on Australian soil.
Australia Day has therefore become a day for Australians to reflect on what it means to be Australian, to celebrate contemporary Australia and to acknowledge its history of annihilating the indigenous Black people after the British government declared Australia an ‘empty land’.