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

Media Release

27 February 2007

Diplomatic Appointment – High Commissioner to Mauritius

Ms Catherine Johnstone is to be Australia’s new High Commissioner to Mauritius with concurrent accreditation to Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles.  Ms Johnstone will replace Mr McConville who has been High Commissioner since February 2004.  She is expected to take up her appointment in April 2007.

Australia has longstanding friendly relations with Mauritius and other Indian Ocean Island States.  Australia’s links with Mauritius are based on trade, a significant Mauritian community in Australia and cooperation in multilateral forums including the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). Australia’s interests in the region include expanding mining interests in Madagascar and cooperation on transnational crime issues, including illegal fishing.

Australian merchandise exports to Mauritius are valued at $120 million and opportunities, including in services, trade and investment, are increasing as the economy diversifies.  Australia is a growing destination for private students from Mauritius and other regional countries.  Academic and cultural links are also increasing.

Ms Johnstone joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1995 and was most recently a Director in Corporate Management Division.  Ms Johnstone  has held a range of positions in Canberra including Director, Images of Australia Branch (2002-06), Director, Corporate Planning Section (2000-01), Executive Officer, Ministerial and Executive Liaison Section (1998-2000) and Executive Officer, Regional Security Section (1995-98).

Prior to joining DFAT, Ms Johnstone served overseas with the then Department of Immigration in New York (1990-93), Mexico City in 1990 and Kuala Lumpur (1985-88).  Ms Johnstone also worked in the Department of Defence (1982-84).

Ms Johnstone was born in Melbourne in 1960.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree from the Australian National University, and has one son.  Ms Johnstone speaks French and German.

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


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