The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
13 September 2000

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Allaster Cox as Australia's High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam.

Mr Cox will replace Mr Doug Chester, who has been High Commissioner since October 1999.  He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2000.

Since the establishment of our mission in Brunei Darussalam in 1983, Australia's bilateral relationship with Brunei has developed in trade and investment, education, aviation, sporting, cultural and environmental links. Defence cooperation is expanding, assisted by regular joint training exercises and the May 1999 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation.

Australia and Brunei are also partners in APEC, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and Australia and New Zealand CER trade talks, BIMP-EAGA (a sub-Regional growth area involving Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Indonesia and in which the Northern Territory has observer status) and the Commonwealth.

Brunei's APEC year has provided an opportunity to enhance cooperation between our two economies.  Australia hosted the APEC Ministers' Responsible for Trade Meeting in Darwin on Brunei's behalf.  We are working closely together to ensure the success of the Leaders' Meeting in Brunei in November.  

Australia supports Brunei's efforts to diversify its economy away from oil and gas.  The Australian - Brunei Darussalam Business Council, its Brunei counterpart, the Brunei - Australia Business Council, and a range of other commercial linkages have broadened the areas of economic cooperation and helped Brunei in achieving this goal.

Mr Cox has been Deputy High Commissioner at the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur since October 1998.  He has also served as First Secretary and Counsellor in Jakarta (1992-96) and Third and Second Secretary in Bandar Seri Begawan (1988-90).

In Canberra, Mr Cox has been Director, Indonesia Section (1997-98), and Director, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei Section (1996-97), in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Educated at Sydney University, Mr Cox holds an Economics Degree with honours and a Bachelor of Laws degree.

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