Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Ms Margaret Twomey as Australia's High Commissioner to Fiji, ending a three-year hiatus caused by the expulsion of Australia's previous High Commissioner in 2009.
Senator Carr said the decision to restore an Australian High Commissioner to Fiji was an agreed outcome of trilateral talks with Fiji and New Zealand in Sydney in July 2012.
"I welcome recent moves towards democracy in Fiji, including work towards an electronic electoral roll ahead of the elections scheduled for 2014," Senator Carr said.
"There is a long way to go, but recent steps forward deserve the recognition agreed upon in our talks in July.
"Australia will continue to encourage Fiji's return to democracy and the civilianisation of government positions."
Ms Twomey is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and is currently Australian Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Ms Twomey has previously served as Ambassador to East Timor; Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian High Commission, Suva and in previous postings to London and Belgrade. She is expected to take up her appointment in February 2013.
Ms Twomey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours (Russian and French) from the University of Melbourne.
Senator Carr and his Fiji counterpart, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, agreed to exchange High Commissioners at their trilateral meeting with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully in Sydney on 30 July.
Australia has welcomed the constitutional and electoral processes begun by Fiji in 2012, and has provided $2.65 million in financial and technical support.
Australia is the largest foreign investor in Fiji. More than 300,000 Australian tourists visit Fiji every year, and 50,000 Fijians live and work in Australia. Australia is Fiji's largest aid donor, providing $55 million in assistance this financial year.
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