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

Media Release

FA181 - 17 December 2004

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Vanuatu

I have today announced the appointment of Mr John Pilbeam as Australia's High Commissioner to the Republic of Vanuatu. Mr Pilbeam will replace Mr Stephen Waters, who has been High Commissioner since January 2002.

Australia has important political, economic and security interests in Vanuatu, a large resident and visitor population and a broad range of mutually-beneficial links at commercial and community levels. Australian assistance programs are directed at improving governance, public sector reform and capacity building in the law and justice sectors as well as improving service delivery throughout Vanuatu, particularly in education and health.

Mr Pilbeam is a senior career officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has just completed his term as Deputy Consul-General, Hong Kong. He has a strong background in Pacific issues, serving in the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby (1981-1985), in Papua New Guinea Section (1991-1993) and heading the Department's Pacific Bilateral Section from 1999 to 2001. His other overseas assignments include Kingston, Jamaica (1976-1979), the United Nations in New York (1986-1990) and Seoul (1996-1999).

Educated at the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University, Mr Pilbeam holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with First Class Honours in Economics and a Graduate Diploma in East Asian Studies. He is married with three daughters.

Media Inquiries: Mr Downer's office 02 6277 7500 - DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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