M58

9 June 1995

DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: CONSUL-GENERAL IN NOUMEA

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Gareth Evans, today announced the appointment of

Mr Graeme Wilson as Australia's Consul-General in Noumea, with jurisdiction in the Territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.

Mr Wilson replaces Mr Leslie Rowe, who has been Consul-General since 1992.

In announcing the appointment, Senator Evans said that the Australian Government placed considerable importance on its relations with France in the South Pacific and on developing further Australia's links with the French Pacific Territories.

Australia's representation in Noumea has been important in our relations with France since 1942 when Australia first established a post in New Caledonia.

In relation to New Caledonia, Senator Evans reaffirmed the Australian Government's strong support for the process of political, economic and social development embodied in the 1988 Matignon and Oudinot Accords agreed between the Government of France and the main political groupings in New Caledonia.

Noumea is also the headquarters of the South Pacific Commission, the oldest and largest regional organisation, which brings together 27 states and territories. Senator Evans noted the importance of the economic and social programs of the Commission which make a substantial contribution to enhancing the wellbeing of the people of all Pacific island countries and to sustainable economic development within the region.

Mr Wilson is a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He joined the then Department of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and has served in Port Vila and Paris. He has worked in both geographic and management areas of the Department, and is currently the Departmental Careers Adviser.

Mr Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Master of Arts (French) from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Arts (International Relations) from the University of Southern California.

Mr Wilson is expected to take up his appointment in August 1995.

CANBERRA