FA33 / 13 March 2002
Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to South Africa
I have today announced the appointment of Mr Ian Wilcock as Australian
High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa. Mr Wilcock will
replace Mr David Connolly, who has been High Commissioner since May
1998, and is expected to take up his appointment in mid-2002.
Australia has a long-standing relationship with South Africa, where
we have been represented diplomatically in Pretoria since 1946. We
enjoy excellent and expanding political cooperation across a wide
range of interests. Bilateral commercial relationships also continue
to develop, assisted by the successful Joint Ministerial Commission
held in October 2000. There have been a number of recent high-level
visits between Australia and South Africa, including by Mr Nelson
Mandela in 2000, Australian Minister for Trade Mark Vaile in 2000
and Senator Minchin in July 2001.
South Africa is a growing market for Australia with exports of A$1.3
billion in 2000-01, and total two-way trade of A$2.2 billion in 2000-01.
Australian investment in South Africa has been relatively low but
is expected to increase dramatically following the BHP-Billiton merger,
the major investment in sandmining by Ticor Ltd and the success of
the Australia-Sub Saharan Africa Mining Conference in Pretoria in
July 2001. According to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB),
South Africa is Australia's fifth largest source of foreign investment,
with emphasis in the mining and retail sectors.
Since 1994, Australia has been assisting South Africa in the transition
to democratic government. The aid relationship is strong and positive
and includes a $16 million Capacity Building Program targeted at improving
skills such as education, information technology and local government.
Mr Wilcock is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade and has served as Ambassador to Israel (1997-99),
Minister in London (1993-96), Counsellor and Minister in Washington
(1986-89), First Secretary in Manila (1978-81) and Third and Second
Secretary in Tel Aviv (1973-75).
In Canberra, Mr Wilcock was First Assistant Secretary, Americas and
Europe Division in 2001-2002. He was First Assistant Secretary, Public
Diplomacy and then Public Diplomacy, Consular and Passports Divisions
in 2000-01 and Assistant Secretary, Americas Branch from 1990-93.
Mr Wilcock graduated (in arts and education) from Melbourne and Monash
Universities. He also attended the Joint Services Staff College in
Media inquiries: Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555
Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:30:30 EST