Thursday, 31 March 2011 7:07 AM

Australia Announces New High Commissioner to Solomon Islands

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, today announced that Australia's next High Commissioner to Solomon Islands will be Mr Matthew Anderson.

Mr Anderson is expected to take up his appointment in May 2011. He will replace Mr Frank Ingruber who has been High Commissioner since May 2009.

Australia has a close relationship with Solomon Islands based on shared regional interests, longstanding people-to-people and commercial links, and a substantial development assistance program.

Australia works to promote peace and prosperity in Solomon Islands through the leadership of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), in partnership with fifteen Pacific neighbours. Australia looks forward to continued cooperation with Solomon Islands and regional partners in achieving RAMSI's objectives.

Honiara is also the headquarters of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), an important regional organisation comprising seventeen members, including Australia. The FFA makes a strong contribution to the management, conservation and sustainable use of Pacific fisheries resources.

Mr Anderson has a strong background in Pacific island affairs. He was most recently Australia's High Commissioner to Samoa. Mr Anderson has also served overseas in Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and was the Chief Negotiator of the Australian-led Peace Monitoring Group on Bougainville. Mr Anderson speaks fluent Pidgin.

Prior to joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1995, Mr Anderson was a commissioned officer in the Australian Defence Force. He is married with three children.

Mr Anderson was awarded the Public Service Medal in the 2011 Australia Day Honours List for his role leading the consular and humanitarian response to the 2009 earthquake and tsunami in Samoa.