Today I announce the appointment of Mr Peter Roberts OAM as Australia’s next Ambassador to Timor-Leste.

Australia and Timor-Leste enjoy long-standing, deep ties underpinned by strong people-to-people and education links. Over 550 Timorese have studied in Australia on Australia Award scholarships and more than 440 Australians have undertaken studies in Timor-Leste through the New Colombo Plan. Timor-Leste is the third largest source country in Australia’s Seasonal Worker Program, which provides opportunities for Australian employers and Timorese workers.

Australia is Timor-Leste’s largest development partner and we support Timor-Leste’s objectives to diversify its economy and create sustainable growth and jobs. Our development partnership focuses on improving rural livelihoods, enhancing human development outcomes and strengthening governance. Our security ties are strengthened through defence and police capacity building programs.

Mr Roberts is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Assistant Secretary, North Asia Goods Branch. In Canberra, he has held a range of positions, including as a lead negotiator in the Japan Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, China Australia Free Trade Agreement and the Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement negotiations. He has also worked as Director, Japan Section. He previously served overseas as Political Counsellor, Australian Embassy, Tokyo; Second Secretary, Australian High Commission, Apia; and Senior Civilian Monitor, Peace Monitoring Group, Bougainville.

Mr Roberts holds a Bachelor of Asian Studies (Hons) from the Australian National University/Tohoku University Japan, and a Bachelor of Science from the ANU.

I thank outgoing Ambassador Peter Doyle for his contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Timor-Leste since 2014.

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