The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP


Media Release

FA101 / 22 July2002

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Nepal

I have today announced the appointment of Keith Gardner as Australia's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal. Mr Gardner will replace Crispin Conroy who has been Ambassador since December 1999.

Australia has enjoyed a strong relationship with Nepal and close people-to-people links since diplomatic relations were established in 1960. Australia opened a resident diplomatic mission in Kathmandu in 1984.

Two-way trade is small but growing. Australian exports comprise mainly metals, food and beverages, machinery, spare parts and services in the fields of telecommunications, education, tourism and aviation. A major hydroelectric project in Nepal involving Australian interests is under consideration and an Australian firm, Note Printing Australia, recently won a $3 million contract to produce 10 rupee polymer bank notes for Nepal's Central Bank. Australia is assisting Nepal in its bid for accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Australia's development cooperation program is helping Nepal meet its poverty alleviation and development aspirations. Current areas of assistance include natural resource management, human resource development and community health assistance including vitamin A supplementation and HIV-AIDS awareness. In-country volunteer activity includes the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program. Australia also has significant consular interests in Nepal, with about 10,000 Australians visiting Nepal each year.

Mr Gardner is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Since joining the Department in 1981, he has held a range of positions in Canberra, including Director, Australia-India Council and Deputy Director, India and South Asia Section. He also served as Director of the Department's Northern Territory Office in Darwin from 1997 to 2000. He is currently Director of the Consular Operations Section.

Mr Gardner has had diplomatic assignments in Kingston (1990-92), Beijing (1987-90), Warsaw (1985-87) and New Delhi (1982-84).

Born in Adelaide in 1955, Mr Gardner was educated at the South Australian Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. He is married with two sons.

He is expected to take up his appointment in December 2002.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555


Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:29:26 EST


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