Today I announce the appointment of Mr David Holly as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Sri Lanka with non-resident accreditation to the Maldives.

Australia has a close and long-standing relationship with Sri Lanka, underpinned by extensive bilateral cooperation and people-to-people links. Australia’s Sri Lankan community of 170,000 people makes a significant contribution to Australian society.

Our relationship encompasses development cooperation, education and close collaboration on countering people smuggling and transnational crime. Two-way trade reached a record $1.54 billion in 2017-18. We will continue to support Sri Lanka as it makes progress towards meaningful reconciliation. Australia and Sri Lanka work productively together to address shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including through the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Australia and the Maldives have a positive relationship, built around education, development assistance and combatting transnational crime.

Mr Holly is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Chief Economist, Trade and Investment. He has previously served overseas as Consul General, Chennai; Deputy Head of Mission, New Delhi; and Counsellor, Singapore. In Canberra, he was a trade negotiator in the Office of Trade Negotiations; Assistant Secretary, South and West Asia Branch; and led Australia’s contribution to both the India and China free trade agreement feasibility studies. Mr Holly holds a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University.

I thank outgoing High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson for his contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Colombo since 2016.

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