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

Media Release

FA129 11 October 2005

Diplomatic Appointment: Consul-General in Shanghai

I have today announced the appointment of Ms Susan Dietz-Henderson as Consul-General for Australia in Shanghai. Ms Dietz-Henderson will succeed Mr Sam Gerovich who has been Consul-General since January 2002. She is expected to take up her appointment in February 2006.

Australia's relationship with China is substantial and growing. The relationship is based solidly on strong complementarities. Australia is a stable, reliable supplier of the high quality minerals, energy, foodstuffs and services that China needs for its continued economic growth and development. Two-way merchandise trade in 2004-5 exceeded $32 billion, with average annual growth of 20 per cent over the last five years. People-to-people links are also growing strongly, particularly in education and tourism. Our two sides are negotiating a bilateral FTA, a historic opportunity to remove trade barriers and deepen integration between our two economies.

The Consulate-General in Shanghai plays an important role in developing the relationship in eastern China, particularly in the consular and economic areas. The Municipality of Shanghai is central to China's economy and a major gateway for foreign trade and investment. Over half of Australia's exports to China enter through the port of Shanghai, China's largest, while it is estimated that more than half of Australia's imports from China originate from Shanghai and its surrounding provinces. The Consulate-General in Shanghai is responsible for a consular district encompassing five provinces with a combined population of well over 300 million, offering considerable trade and investment opportunities for Australian business. Shanghai will host the 2010 World Expo.

Ms Dietz-Henderson is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her most recent overseas posting was as Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Washington from 2001 to 2004. Ms Dietz-Henderson has also served overseas as Chief Negotiator of the Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville, and has had two prior postings to China, as Consul, Australian Consulate-General, Guangzhou from 1993 to 1996, and to the Australian Embassy, Beijing from 1989 to 1992.

Ms Dietz-Henderson is currently Assistant Secretary, Strategic Affairs Branch, a position she has held since 2004. She has also served as Director of the Nuclear Trade and Security Section, and in positions in the East Asia Branch focusing on China. Ms Dietz-Henderson joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a Foreign Service Trainee in 1988.

Ms Dietz-Henderson is a graduate of Asian Studies from the Australian National University. She also holds Graduate Diplomas in Applied Economics and Applied Linguistics and Translation. She speaks Chinese (Mandarin) and Motu (Papua New Guinea).

Ms Dietz-Henderson was born in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 1963. She is married and has two children.

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

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