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

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Media Release

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer
 2 May 2001

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Canada

I have today announced the appointment of Tony Hely as Australia's High Commissioner to Canada.  Mr Hely will replace Mr Greg Wood, who has been High Commissioner since May 1997.  He is expected to take up his appointment in July 2001.

Australia and Canada enjoy a broadly based and highly productive bilateral relationship.  Trade relations date back over one hundred years and formal diplomatic links are more than sixty years old.  We share common values and traditions and international and domestic policy objectives.  The two countries regularly cooperate on regional and global issues.  We work closely together in international fora, including in the United Nations, WTO, APEC and the Commonwealth.  The bilateral consular cooperation arrangements are of considerable importance in extending the countries' respective consular coverage abroad.

Canada is Australia's 16th largest trading partner.  In 2000, Australia's two-way merchandise trade with Canada was valued at $3.3 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 1998-1999.  Major exports to Canada include alumina, sugar, beef and wine.  Investment ties between Australia and Canada are substantial.  A large number of Australian companies are active in the Canadian market covering interests in high-tech, finance, mining transportation and packaging.  There is scope for substantial growth in two-way trade and investment.

Mr Hely is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and since April 1998 has been Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.  He has held a wide range of positions covering multilateral, regional and bilateral aspects of the Department's activities, with particular focus on Asia.  This includes a period as Assistant Secretary of the Department's North Asia Branch (1990) and overseas as Counsellor Commercial, Tokyo (1984-87) and Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Jakarta (1991-93).

Mr Hely's other overseas assignment was as First Secretary, Geneva (1997-80).  He was Assistant Secretary (1993), Principal Adviser (1995), and then First Assistant Secretary (1996-98) in the Economic and Trade Development Division.

Mr Hely was born in 1949.  He was educated at Sydney Boys High School and holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from Sydney University and a Diploma in Exporting (MA Ins. Ex.) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.  Mr Hely is married and has no children. 

Media inquiries: Matt Francis (Ministerial) 02 62777 500/
Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 2534/


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