23 Facts about the state of Victoria and MENA relationship

1. In 1997, Victoria became the first Australian state to open a trade and investment office in the Middle East.
2. Melbourne is proud to host diplomatic representatives from key partners in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including the UAE, Oman, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey. 
3. In 2018-19, two-way merchandise trade between Victoria and MENA was worth A$3.5 billion and Victorian exports to MENA were worth A$1.5 billion. 
4. The MENA region is an important market for Victoria, worth $1.1 billion in food and fibre exports in 2018-19.
5. Meat, grain, dairy and processed food are among the most important Victorian exports to the MENA
6. Victoria’s trade with the MENA region has increased by nearly 7 per cent over the last two years. 
7. The UAE is the most valuable market in the MENA region for Victoria. 
8. Trade in agricultural products accounted for 66 per cent of all two- way merchandise trade between Victoria and the UAE in 2018-19. 
9. As a trading bloc, MENA is Victoria’s second most valuable export market for meat after the United States and ahead of China. 
10. As a source of international student enrolment for Victoria, the MENA region has grown by over 700 per cent since 2002. 
11. In the year ending December 2019, Victoria received more than 6,500 student enrolments from MENA (37 per cent of Australia’s total). 
12. Victoria is home to the largest UAE-born, Saudi Arabia-born, Libya-born and Syria-born communities in Australia. 
13. Almost half of all Turkey- born people in Australia call Victoria home. 
14. In Victoria, Arabic is the fifth most common language other than English spoken at home, after Mandarin, Italian, Greek and Vietnamese. 
15. More than 140,000 Victorians speak a Middle Eastern language at home (Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and others).
16. Five current Victorian Members of Parliament were born in the Middle East or have Middle Eastern ancestry (3 Lebanon, 2 Turkey). 
17. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines are significant investors in Victoria and are key supporters of the state’s major sporting and cultural events calendar. 
18. DP World, a UAE company, operates the largest container terminal at Port of Melbourne. 
19. Camilk, a camel dairy in Rochester, is a joint venture supported by investors from the UAE. 
20. In terms of land area, Victoria is almost three times bigger than the UAE! 
21. Victoria’s economy is larger than the economies of Lebanon, Morocco and Egypt. 
22. The world-famous aquarium in the Dubai Mall was commissioned by Melbourne company Peddle Thorp Architects.
23. Many Victorian companies were involved in the design, construction and supply of products and services for the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai, including Cox Gomyl, who provided external building access solutions, and Future Fibre Optics, who provided fibre optics technology.