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

Media Release

FA119 20 September 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Bangladesh

I have today announced the appointment of Douglas Foskett as Australia's next High Commissioner to the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Mr Foskett will replace Ms Lorraine Barker, who has been High Commissioner since November 2002. He is expected to take up his appointment in December 2005.

Australia was the fourth country to establish diplomatic relations with Bangladesh after it achieved independence in 1971. Since that time, our two countries have developed a constructive and expanding relationship both bilaterally and in the international arena. Bangladesh Prime Minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, visited Australia in March 2002. Commerce Minister Altaf Chowdhury also visited in April 2004 to open the Bangladesh Festival in Sydney with the Minister for Trade, Mr Mark Vaile, and the Minister for Law and Justice and former Prime Minister, Moudad Ahmed, visited Australia last month to review Australian systems of law and justice.

Our bilateral relationship is underpinned by our healthy trade relationship and the Australian development cooperation program. Since 1 July 2003, all products from Bangladesh have entered Australia both duty-free and quota-free. Total bilateral trade was worth over A$310 million in 2004, and there is great potential for further growth in trade between our countries. Australia has been a development partner of Bangladesh since independence in 1971. In 2005-06, Australia's aid budget for Bangladesh totals $32.3 million and includes programs focussing on food security, nutrition and primary education. We are also providing support for initiatives in areas including HIV/AIDs, microfinance, governance, arsenic mitigation and human resource development.

Mr Foskett is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Director, Consular Operations Section, a position he has held since December 2004. P rior to this he was Director, Ministerial, Cabinet and Parliamentary Services Section (2003-04). He has also held a range of positions in Canberra including in the Staffing and Executive Branches.

Overseas Mr Foskett has served as First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Rangoon (1997-2000); Second Secretary, Australian High Commission, Suva (1992-94); Exchange Officer, New Zealand Ministry of External Relations, Wellington (1991); and Third Secretary, Australian High Commission, Port Louis (1987-90). Before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1986, Mr Foskett held a variety of positions in the private sector.

Mr Foskett was born in Melbourne in 1953. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma of Education from Latrobe University. He is married with three children.

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

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