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Media release

30 May 2008

Diplomatic Appointment - Consul-General, Ho Chi Minh City

Mr Graeme Swift will be Australia's next Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mr Swift is expected to take up his appointment in August 2008, replacing Malcolm Skelly, who has been Consul‑General since August 2005.

Australia’s relationship with Vietnam is deeper and broader than ever, now spanning trade and investment, development assistance, education, defence and security, human rights, and dialogue on regional issues. High-level contacts have been expanding on the back of these increasing interactions.

Total two-way trade in goods and services in 2007 reached $6.84 billion. Australian companies are also looking to boost their substantial investment presence in Vietnam, which is valued currently at $997 million. Development cooperation ties are long-standing and strong, with Vietnam the fifth largest recipient of Australian development assistance. Education, tourism and other people-to-people links are also significant, with Australia being a preferred destination for Vietnamese studying abroad and more than 200,000 Australians visiting Vietnam each year.

Ho Chi Minh City is the hub of activity in southern Vietnam and a key driver of the country’s rapid economic growth. It is also an increasingly popular destination for Australian tourists and business-people, and home to many expatriate Australians. The Australian Government thus accords a high priority to Australia’s continued diplomatic and consular presence in Ho Chi Minh City as part of its broader foreign and trade policy strategy in Vietnam.

Mr Swift is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Assistant Secretary, Financial Services and Systems Branch, a position he has held since September 2005. He has served overseas as Minister-Counsellor and Consul-General in Jakarta (2002-05), Counsellor Management and Consul-General, Tokyo (1996‑2000) and Consul in Brussels (1989-1992). Mr Swift has also worked in Damascus, Lisbon, Seoul, Baghdad, Belgrade and New Delhi. Earlier roles in Canberra have included Director, Overseas Property and Security Section (2000-02) and Director, Budget Section (1993‑95).

Mr Swift holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Open University in the United Kingdom and a Graduate Diploma in Information Systems from the University of Canberra. Mr Swift is married with three children.

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