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

Media Release

12 January 2007

Diplomatic Appointment – High Commissioner to Solomon Islands

Mr Peter Hooton is to be Australia’s new High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.  Mr Hooton will replace Mr Patrick Cole who was High Commissioner between December 2003 and September 2006.  Mr Hooton is expected to take up his appointment later this month.

Australia has a strong interest in the growth and development of Solomon Islands and remains committed to assisting Solomon Islands address the challenges it faces in improving the lives of its people.  Australia’s commitment to Solomon Islands is exemplified in its leadership, since July 2003, of the Pacific Islands Forum’s Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), which has made significant progress in helping Solomon Islands address key challenges to law and order, growth and economic management.  Australia’s bilateral relations with Solomon Islands include shared regional interests, a substantial development assistance program and longstanding people-to-people and commercial links.

Honiara is the headquarters of the Forum Fisheries Agency, an important regional organisation comprising 17 members, including Australia.  The FFA has made a strong contribution to the management, conservation and sustainable use of Pacific fisheries resources.

Mr Hooton is a career officer who joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1974.  He has served previously overseas as Deputy High Commissioner in Fiji (1994-96) and as High Commissioner to Samoa (2001-03).  Mr Hooton has also had postings in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  He was most recently Assistant Secretary, Pacific Regional and New Zealand Branch.

Mr Hooton 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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