Australia’s Senior Foreign Affairs Department official Gillian Bird has been appointed the country’ first ambassador to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said in a press release issued September 5 that Ms. Bird would work closely with ASEAN to promote regional prosperity and stability.
According to the announcement, Australia’s two-way trade in goods and services with ASEAN totaled over A$71 billion in 2007. Australia, ASEAN and New Zealand recently concluded negotiations for a region-wide Free Trade Agreement, which will further strengthen our trading relationship and encourage increased investment flows.
Ms Bird is a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and is also Australia’s Senior Official in the East Asia Summit. She previously served as First Assistant Secretary, International Division, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Prior to this appointment, she was Head, Foreign and Trade Policy White Paper Task Force (Advancing the National Interest), within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.