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

Media Statement

FA016 - 28 January 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the Philippines

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Tony Hely as Australia's Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines. Mr Hely will replace Ms Ruth Pearce who has been Ambassador since May 2002. He is expected to take up his position in March 2005.

Australia and the Philippines enjoy longstanding and close relations, underpinned by strong people-to-people links. The Filipino community in Australia is estimated to be in excess of 150,000. The Philippines and Australia share many common interests and we value our cooperation in regional affairs such as ASEAN and APEC. Both countries also share a high level of cooperation as members of the Cairns Group. The Philippines is a very important development partner, ranking fifth largest as a recipient of Australian development assistance. Our defence relationship continues to expand and Australia is a significant external source of training assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The Philippines is an important trading partner and total two-way merchandise trade in 2003-04 amounted to A$1.694 billion. Australia's major exports to the Philippines include dairy products, crude petroleum, medicaments, copper and live animals. Our major imports from the Philippines include computers, integrated circuits, crude petroleum, telecommunications equipment and radio-broadcast receivers. Both countries are actively exploring ways to expand the trade relationship further.

Mr Hely is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently serving as High Commissioner to Canada. From April 1998 to June 2001 he was Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. He served as Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Jakarta (1991-93), Counsellor Commercial, Tokyo (1984-87) and First Secretary, Geneva GATT (1977-80).

In Canberra, Mr Hely has held the positions of First Assistant Secretary, Economic and Trade Development Division (1996-98), Principal Adviser, Economic and Trade Development Division (1995-96), Assistant Secretary, Trade Strategy Branch (1993-95 and 1988-90), Assistant Secretary, North Asia Branch (1990), Assistant Secretary, Negotiations and Trade Competitiveness Branch (1988), Director, Regional Trade Section (1987-88), Director, GATT Section (1983-84) and Director, Middle East Section (1981-83).

Mr Hely was born in 1949. He was educated at Sydney Boys High School and holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from Sydney University and a Diploma in Exporting from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He is married.

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

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