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

Media Release

FA039 - 27 April 2006

Diplomatic appointment - High Commissioner to Malta

I have today announced the appointment of Jurek Juszczyk as Australia's High Commissioner to the Republic of Malta. Mr Juszczyk will replace Mr Richard Palk CSM who has been High Commissioner since September 2003. He is expected to take up his appointment in August 2006.

Strong ties of immigration and history between Australia and Malta form the basis of the bilateral relationship. The Maltese were involved in the Gallipoli campaign as part of the British armed forces and Australian servicemen were involved in the defence of Malta during World War II. The 136,754-strong Australian-Maltese community, the largest outside of Malta, has contributed greatly to the development of a multicultural Australia. Almost every family in Malta has a relative in Australia and this important connection is supported by bilateral agreements covering social security, double taxation, health services, air services and a working holiday maker scheme.

Australia and Malta are both strongly committed to the United Nations and share common interests through membership of the Commonwealth. Prime Minister John Howard attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in November 2005. The Maltese Prime Minister, Dr Lawrence Gonzi, is the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth until CHOGM 2007, and Malta is also a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. Malta joined the European Union and the Australia Group in May 2004 and is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Two-way bilateral trade is modest at A$18 million, and offers niche market opportunities for Australian exporters in solar power, water supply and fast ferries.

Mr Juszczyk was Australia's High Commissioner to the Republic of Kiribati from February 2003 to February 2006. Mr Juszczyk has also served overseas as Counsellor, Australian Embassy, The Hague (1994-97), First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Beijing (1988-91), First Secretary, Australian Embassy, Stockholm (1982-86), First Secretary, Australian High Commission, Lagos (1980-82), and Third Secretary, Australian Embassy, Jakarta (1975-77).

Mr Juszczyk has also held a number of positions in Canberra including Director, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos Section (1999-2002), Director, Cultural Relations Section (1997-99) and Director, International Economic Analysis Section (1991-93).

Mr Juszczyk was born in Melbourne in 1953. He holds a Bachelor of Economics degree (Honours) and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Monash University. He speaks Polish. He is married with two children

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

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