High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea

Media release

12 February 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Ms Deborah Stokes as Australia's next High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea.

Ms Stokes is expected to take up her appointment in March 2013, replacing Mr Ian Kemish AM.

Ms Stokes is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was most recently head of the Department's International Organisations and Legal Division. She has previously served as Australia's Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, and as Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.

Ms Stokes earlier held positions at the Australian Embassy in Yangon and with the United Nations Development Programme in New York. She has also held senior positions in AusAID.

Ms Stokes holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Adelaide and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Australia has a long-term commitment to Papua New Guinea's development. Australia is Papua New Guinea's largest aid donor, providing $491.7 million in development assistance in 2012/13.

Two-way trade between the countries is worth more than $7bn a year, with Australian investment in Papua New Guinea exceeding $16bn.

Australia and Papua New Guinea work closely on regional and international priorities through the Pacific Islands Forum, APEC and the United Nations.

Australia and PNG also host regular Ministerial Fora, the most recent of which was on December 6, 2012. Talks included progress on negotiations for an Economic Cooperation Treaty, establishment of a PNG Sovereign Wealth Fund, and cooperation on police, defence, immigration and economic development.

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