As Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, I am pleased to extend my best wishes to Australia’s Filipino community celebrating Philippine Independence Day on 12 June.

The day commemorates the Philippines’ independence from Spain in 1898.

Of course, Filipino migration and trade with Australia go back even further than this date.

In 1845, 258 tons of sugar from Manila was shipped to Sydney and in 1856, Australia replaced France as the largest market for Philippine coffee. From the 1870s, Filipino seafarers arrived in Australia to work as pearl divers in the northwest including Broome and in the Torres Strait.

In the past few decades, the Philippines has become a major source of permanent skilled migrants to Australia and Filipino Australians have become one of our fastest growing communities. In the 2016 Census, more than 300,000 people identified with Filipino ancestry.

Filipino Australians continue to make a valuable contribution to our nation’s social, economic and cultural life.

Australia’s model of multiculturalism has been built on the successful integration of migrants into the Australian community.

To all Filipino Australians celebrating this day, I offer you my warmest greetings for a wonderful celebration.

Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs

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