The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd has today announced that Ms Lynda Worthaisong will be Australia's new ambassador to Laos.
Ms Worthaisong is expected to take up her appointment in January 2011 and she replaces Ms Michele Forster who has been Ambassador since September 2007.
Australia and Laos have enjoyed diplomatic ties since 1952. Australia has a strong reputation in Laos as a constructive long-term partner in the Mekong region. Australia built and funded the 'Friendship Bridge' linking Laos and Thailand in 1994, which remains a symbol of Australia's ongoing commitment to Laos and the region.
Australia has significant business and investment ties with Laos. Australian companies are leading the way by delivering high quality
products and services in a range of fields, including banking, education, engineering and legal services. Australian investments in mining and related services have made a significant contribution to the economic growth of Laos.
Laos' ratification of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, which will enter into force in Laos on 1 January 2011, is expected to create new opportunities for two-way trade.
Australia cooperates with Laos on a range of transnational issues including drug trafficking, anti-money laundering, people smuggling and trafficking in persons.
Ms Worthaisong is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). She was most recently Director, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore Section, a position she held since 2009. Ms Worthaisong has previously served overseas in Laos and Thailand.
Ms Worthaisong holds a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade and a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies with Honours from the Australian National University. Ms Worthaisong speaks Lao and Thai. She is married with two children.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555