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

Media Release

FA41 - 23 March 2004

Diplomatic Appointment - Ambassador to Cambodia

I have today announced the appointment of Lisa Filipetto as Australia's Ambassador to Cambodia. Ms Filipetto is expected to take up her appointment in April 2004.

Over the past 50 years Australia and Cambodia have developed a strong relationship which is expanding into new areas of mutual interest. The two countries are working together closely combating people smuggling and trafficking, child sex tourism, narcotics trafficking and on issues such as counter-terrorism.

There is an active Cambodian community in Australia of some 23,000 migrants and their children. Australians retain a warm interest in Cambodia's development and security. This is reflected in Australia's substantial bilateral assistance which, in 2003-2004, will deliver programs worth $44.4 million from a range of Australian Government agencies. These programs focus on national and regional security, strengthening governance and the rule of law, assisting vulnerable groups and increasing productivity and incomes of the rural poor.

Australia is playing an active role in the process of national reconciliation and human rights in Cambodia, notably by assisting the establishment of a Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

Although the current commercial relationship between our two countries is limited I look forward to its expansion as the Cambodian economy and its financial regulatory and judicial systems further develop.

Ms Filipetto is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and most recently held the position of Assistant Secretary, Services and Intellectual Property Branch. Other positions held include Assistant Secretary, WTO Trade Law Branch (May-December 2002); Assistant Secretary, Mainland South East Asia and South Asia Branch (September 2001-April 2002); and Director, Services Trade Policy Section (1995-97).

Overseas, Ms Filipetto has served as Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City (1997-01); First Secretary in Dublin (1991-94); and Third Secretary in Brunei (1986-89).

Ms Filipetto is a graduate of the Australian National University where she completed degrees in Economics and Arts (Asian Studies). She will be accompanied by her spouse.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial)  02 6277 7500, Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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