24 April 2009
Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Pakistan
Mr Tim George is to be Australia's new High Commissioner to Pakistan, succeeding Ms Zorica McCarthy who has been High Commissioner since August 2004.
Mr George is expected to take up his appointment in June 2009.
Australia and Pakistan enjoy a friendly, constructive relationship, underpinned by agricultural and trade ties, an expanding development cooperation partnership and growing people-to-people links, including 5000 students from Pakistan studying in Australia.
Australia and Pakistan also cooperate in regional organisations. We are both member nations of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and Australia is an observer to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which Pakistan is a founding member.
Pakistan is one of the world's most strategically important countries and vital to a range of Australian interests. Terrorism and extremism in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area have major regional and international security implications.
Pakistan is facing complex internal challenges, ranging from the threat of extremism and terrorism, accommodating millions of Afghan refugees and serious economic difficulties.
Australia is an inaugural member of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Group, which is committed to assisting the democratic Government in Pakistan to tackle these challenges in the interests of regional and global stability.
I attended the first Ministerial meeting of the Friends' group last September at the United Nations and the recent Friends meeting in Tokyo on 17 April.
I also announced at the Pakistan Donors' Conference on 17 April that Australia would double its development assistance to A$120 million over the next two years. Australia's assistance will focus on health and education services, including in the Afghanistan border region.
Mr George, a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is currently Special Coordinator in the South and West Asia Branch. Prior to taking up this position he was Australia's Special Coordinator for RAMSI in Solomon Islands (2007-09). In Canberra, Mr George held the positions of Assistant Secretary, Europe Branch (1998-2000) and Assistant Secretary, South Asia and Indian Ocean Branch (1997-98).
Overseas, Mr George has served as Ambassador to Israel (2003-06), Ambassador to Spain and Andorra (2000-03), Deputy High Commissioner in Wellington (1994-97) and Deputy High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur (1992-94). He has also served in Bangkok, Santiago de Chile, Moscow and Suva.
Educated at the University of Adelaide, Mr George holds a Bachelor of Laws degree with Honours. He is married with two sons.
Media inquiries: Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555