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

Media Release

FA123 - 9 October 2003

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner To Samoa

I have today announced the appointment of Phillip Allars as Australia’s High Commissioner to the Independent State of Samoa.

Mr Allars will replace Peter Hooton who has been High Commissioner since January 2001. He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2004.

Australia’s relations with Samoa are close and long-standing, embracing development assistance, trade and investment, defence cooperation and strong people-to-people links forged by the sizeable Samoan community resident in Australia.

Australia’s bilateral aid program to Samoa in 2003-04 is $11.8 million. Key institutional strengthening activities are being undertaken in the areas of education, health, the Public Service Commission, police, immigration and quarantine. Australia has a small Defence Cooperation Program ($506,000 in 2003-04) based on the maritime surveillance and support activities for a Pacific patrol boat, donated to Samoa in 1988.

Total two-way trade was $144 million in 2002-03 with a healthy trade surplus for Samoa of about $99 million. Australia is Samoa’s principal export destination and a major source of imports for Samoa.

The relationship has been further reinforced by high-level visits between Australia and Samoa. In December 2002, I visited Samoa accompanied by the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Chris Gallus and a Parliamentary Delegation. Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson represented Australia at Samoa’s 40th Anniversary of Independence celebrations in June 2002. Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi visited Australia in November 2000 as Guest of Government and attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum in March 2002.

Along with other Pacific nations, Samoa and Australia are working constructively to address issues of regional concern within the Pacific Islands Forum. Samoa is making a very welcome contribution of 15 police to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and plays a strong and positive role in the Forum more generally.

Mr Allars, a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is currently Director of the Parliamentary Liaison Section. He has served previously in the Pacific, most recently as High Commissioner to Kiribati (1997–2000). His other overseas assignments have included Counsellor (Political and Economic) in Port Moresby (1996) and Deputy Head of Mission in Cairo (1993–1995).

Mr Allars was born in Sydney and is a graduate of the Australian National University. He is married with three children.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Minister’s office) (02) 6277 7500 - Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) (02) 6261 1555

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