Ambassador to Cambodia

Media release

14 March 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Ms Alison Burrows as Australia's next Ambassador to Cambodia.

Ms Burrows will take up her appointment in April 2013 replacing Ms Penny Richards.

Ms Burrows is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and is currently Assistant Secretary, North Asia Investment and Services Branch. Ms Burrows has previously served as Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Brussels, First Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Manila and in earlier postings to Suva and Rome.

Ms Burrows holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from the University of Sydney. She is married and has three sons. Ms Burrows speaks French and Italian.

Australia and Cambodia cooperate on regional and international issues including through the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia Summit (EAS). Current issues include combating people smuggling and trafficking, child sex tourism, narcotics trafficking and international terrorism. The two countries have an active defence cooperation program.

Two-way trade between Australia and Cambodia exceeds $70 million a year, including Australian exports of wheat, cereals and machinery and imports of clothing and linen. Australian investment in Cambodia for 2011-12 was $120 million with Australian business involvement in sectors such as mining, transport, tourism and education.

Australia provided $80.4 million in 2012-13 for development assistance in Cambodia, targeting health, rural development, infrastructure, and justice. Australian development programs have a focus on the rights of women and girls, and on disability care.

Since 1994, Australia has provided $78 million to support Cambodia's efforts to clear landmines, educate people about landmine risks and help survivors. In the last five years more than 4,400 hectares have been cleared of landmines, benefitting more than 60,000 Cambodians. The number of landmine casualties in Cambodia has halved from 450 in 2006 to 211 last year.

Australia is also a long-term supporter of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), established to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for crimes during the period 1975-79. The Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. An estimated 1.6 million people, or a fifth of Cambodia's population, are believed to have died as a result of the regime's policies.

Australia welcomed the historic closure of the first case before the ECCC on February 3, 2012 against Kaing Guek Eav (known as Duch) the former head of the Tuol Sleng prison from which 15,000 people were sent to their deaths.

The ECCC is now focused on its crucial second case against the three most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders including Nuon Chea, known as 'brother number two' to the regime's former head, Pol Pot. They are charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Media enquiries