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

Media Release

FA40 - 7 April 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to Brazil

I have today announced the appointment of Mr Peter Heyward as Australia’s Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil with non-resident accreditation to Colombia.  He will replace Mr John Sullivan, who has been Ambassador since July 2002.  Mr Heyward is expected to take up his appointment in July 2005.

Australia and Brazil share a long history of close cooperation, with 2005 marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.  Brazil is Australia’s largest trading partner in South America, with two-way trade exceeding $1.1 billion in 2004.  Australian exports to Brazil are dominated by resources, particularly coal, nickel and crude petroleum, but also include passenger vehicles and medicaments.  Australian investment in Brazil, while mainly concentrated in the mining and resources sector, has diversified into areas such as agribusiness and financial services.  In 2004, Australia’s education institutions hosted 4,713 Brazilian students and there is scope to expand these links.

Australia and Brazil share a number of  foreign and trade policy goals including UN reform and a mutual commitment to agricultural trade liberalisation through the WTO Doha Round of negotiations.  Brazil is an active partner in the Cairns Group.  We are strengthening cooperation in science and technology, and work together to enhance trade and investment links through the CER-Mercosur dialogue, which commenced in 1996 and brings together officials from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Brazil has the largest economy in South America and is a strong proponent of regional development and integration.  It is a member of Mercosur, the South American Community of Nations, and is an active participant in regional trade negotiations such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). 

Mr Heyward is a senior staff member of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  He most recently held the position of Assistant Secretary, Environment Branch (2002-2004), and prior to this was Counsellor and Australia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva (2000–2002).  He has also held the positions of Director, Human Rights and Indigenous Issues Section (1998‑2000), Director, Refugees, Immigration and Asylum Section (1996-1998), First Secretary, later Counsellor in Buenos Aires (1993–1996), Executive Officer, Climate Change and Biodiversity Section (1991-1992) and Desk Officer, Antarctic Section (1989‑1991).

Mr Heyward was born in Brighton, UK in 1955, he holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tasmania and is married with two children.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500 , DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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