The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
 FORMER MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA

Media Release

FA094 - 24 August 2006

Diplomatic Appointment: Consul-General in Los Angeles

I have today announced the appointment of Innes Willox as Consul-General of Australia in Los Angeles.  He will succeed John Olsen.  Mr Willox is expected to take up his appointment in September 2006.

The Los Angeles Consulate-General takes in southern California and the adjoining south-western states of the United States, an area that is equivalent to the world’s fifth largest economy and a major centre for the global entertainment and technology industries. 

The Consulate is the focal point of our national efforts to promote Australian interests in business, tourism and education, and further develop the robust cultural linkages we enjoy with the west coast of the United States.  California is home to the largest population of Australian expatriates in the United States and Los Angeles is the first port of call for many Australians travelling to the United States.

Australia’s trade and investment ties with the west coast of the United States are strong, with over A$4.8 billion in Australian merchandise exports destined for California or transiting the state each year.  The market-opening impact of the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement has been instrumental in developing new commercial prospects in a diverse range of goods and services where US trade barriers have been eliminated.  Similarly, two-way investment flows are positive as demonstrated by the fact that there are major Californian investments in Australia’s manufacturing and services sectors, and Australia is the eighth largest foreign investor in California.

Mr Willox has served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2004 to the present.  In this position Mr Willox is the principal adviser to the Minister on all policy and political matters across the portfolio, as well as having direct policy responsibility for Australia’s relations with the United States and international crime and terrorism issues.  Mr Willox is responsible for policy co‑ordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other government departments and agencies.  He is also a member of the Federal Government’s Foreign Affairs Council.

Prior to taking up his current post Mr Willox held a number of private sector and government positions including Senior Manager Public Affairs (International and Corporate) with Singapore Airlines (2000-04), Senior adviser and media adviser to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (1997-2000), federal political correspondent, The Age, (1993-97), Chief of Staff, The Age (1991-93).  Sections Editor, The Age (1991-1993), and Deputy News Editor, The Age (1987-1989).

Mr Willox was born in 1963 in Aberdeen, United Kingdom.  He holds a BA (History and Politics) from Monash University and Graduate Certificates in Organisational Behaviour and Economics from the Edinburgh Business School.  Mr Willox is married and has three children.

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


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