Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

12 January 2010

Diplomatic Appointment: High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea

Today I announce the appointment of Mr Ian Kemish AM as Australia's High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea. Mr Kemish replaces Mr Chris Moraitis who has been High Commissioner since December 2006. He is expected to take up his appointment in February 2010.

Australia’s relationship with Papua New Guinea is one of our most important. Underpinned by our geographical proximity, shared history and strong people-to-people links, our close cooperation encompasses economic, security and cultural interests.

Australia is committed to assisting Papua New Guinea to achieve sustained development and alleviate poverty. We are Papua New Guinea’s largest development cooperation partner. Our $414 million aid program in 2009-10 represents over 70 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s development assistance support. The framework under which our development assistance is provided - the Partnership for Development - heralds a new phase of development cooperation between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Australia and Papua New Guinea work closely together in administering our shared Torres Strait border, and cooperate strongly on regional and international issues, including on climate change and through the Pacific Islands Forum and APEC.

Our bilateral trade relationship is strong. Two-way trade is valued at around $4.6 billion annually, making Papua New Guinea our 19th largest trading partner. Australia is Papua New Guinea’s largest trading partner, the principal source of imports and foreign direct investment, and the lead destination for Papua New Guinea’s exports.

Mr Kemish was most recently Australian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, a position he held from April 2006. Prior to this, Mr Kemish was First Assistant Secretary, International Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Kemish’s overseas service includes Vienna and Brunei. He has also worked on secondment with the New Zealand Ministry of External Relations.

Mr Kemish was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2003 in recognition of managing the Australian Government’s response in the aftermath of the 12 October 2002 Bali bombings.

Mr Kemish holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in International Relations and South East Asian History from the University of Queensland. Mr Kemish completed his primary school education in Papua New Guinea. He speaks Indonesian, German and Tok Pisin. Mr Kemish is married and has two daughters.


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