The town of Unley plans to open the “Maison de France” in a city council building near its library on Oxford Street in about a month.
Tenants will include the French Consulate in Adelaide, the Franco-Australian Chamber of Commerce, the Association des écoles franco-australiennes, the Association française de bienfaisance and Adelaide Acceuil – a non-profit organization that organizes events and activities cultural events in France.
Organizations will use the building, which is currently used as office space for municipal staff, to manage services for French businesses operating in South Australia and to provide information to businesses wishing to locate in the state.
The hub will also offer services to companies in South Australia wishing to establish relations with France.
Unley’s Council has a history of over 100 years with France dating back to World War I, when its then mayor served in the Battle of Pozières.
The local government area is home to the Alliance Française d’Adélaïde cultural association, as well as South Australia’s two French-English bilingual schools, Highgate School and Unley High School.
Unley Mayor Michael Hewitson said founding French diplomatic organizations in Unley made sense given the growing population of French migrants in the local government area.
“French trade relations in Adelaide are strong and due to the location and high quality education here, many French people, especially those in the defense industry, have made Unley their home,” said Hewitson.
Many French nationals have settled in South Australia following the federal government’s decision in 2017 to award its $ 50 billion submarine contract to the French company Naval Group.
Relations between the government and Naval Group have recently been strained by a bitter contractual dispute over the next phase of the work.
Hewitson said he was not concerned by the tensions, saying “the French community (in Unley) precedes the submarine contract”.
He said the council was “delighted to provide access to housing” to French organizations in South Australia.
“We look forward to developing this relationship and exploring other opportunities to provide social and economic benefits to our community, which may include joint cultural initiatives in our city’s annual calendar of events, with opportunities for residents. from Unley to discover French culture through different avenues and activities, ”he said.
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