DIPLOMATIC APPOINTMENT: AMBASSADOR TO BELGIUM
I have today announced the appointment to Brussels of Ms Joanna
Hewitt as Chief of the Australian Mission to the European Union,
and as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, with non-resident
accreditation to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Ms Hewitt will replace Mr Donald Kenyon, who has held these
responsibilities since February 1997.
Australia has a strong and broadening relationship with the
European Union (EU). Our links are longstanding and include some
of our most vital economic interests and a wide and richly diverse
range of cultural and people-to-people ties. The EU is Australia's
largest trading partner and our major source of foreign investment
including direct foreign investment.
Australia enjoys constructive relations with Belgium and Luxembourg.
We share similar approaches to many international issues, including
arms control, disarmament and Antarctica. Belgium and Luxembourg
are members of the Australia Group on Chemical Weapons. The Belgium-Luxembourg
Economic Union (BLEU) is Australia's eighth most important source
of total investment (BLEU direct and portfolio investment in
Australia totalled A$10.9 billion in 1997-98) and the third largest
EU investor in Australia. Two-way trade between Australia and
the BLEU is also substantial, reaching A$1.8 billion in 1999.
Ms Hewitt has been Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade since February 1996, and Ambassador for Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) since April 1998. Ms Hewitt
was Minister (Agriculture and Energy) with the Australian Delegation
to the OECD in 1992 before being appointed as Head of Division
for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries in the OECD Secretariat in
Paris, a position she held for three years.
Ms Hewitt has held a variety of senior positions in Canberra
throughout her career, including in the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, the Department of Primary Industries and Energy,
the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce, the Department
of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Office of National
Ms Hewitt was born in Western Australia in 1949. She holds
a Bachelor of Economics degree (First Class Honours) from the
University of Western Australia and a Master of Science Degree
in Economics from the London School of Economics.
(Ministerial) Innes Willox (02) 6277-7500
(Departmental) Matt Francis/Julie McDonald (02) 6261-1555