Australia committed to strengthening trade with Indonesia

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Australia is committed to strengthening trade and investment partnership with Indonesia and expanding people-to-people links, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said while opening Australias new Consulate-General in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Tuesday.

She said the Consulate-General will help deepen business, educational and cultural links with the provinces of eastern Indonesia.

Eastern Indonesia is an increasingly popular destination for Australian trade and investment, particularly when it comes to sectors such as resources, agribusiness and food processing, according to the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Urbanisation and a growing middle class in the regions cities are generating new opportunities for economic partnership between Australia and Indonesia, including in infrastructure, investment, tourism and education.

"I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Richard Mathews as Australias first Consul-General in Makassar," she was quoted as saying by the embassy.

Mathews is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently the Director of the Nuclear Policy Section. He has previously served overseas as Deputy Representative, Australian Commerce and Industry Office, Taipei; Deputy Head of Mission in Athens; and as Second Secretary in Bandar Seri Begawan. In Canberra, Mr Mathews has worked in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Europe sections.

He has also worked as a Director at the Centre for Defense and Strategic Studies; Indonesia Director in the Northern Territory Government; and as a Visiting Fellow and Indonesia Merdeka Fellow at ANU.

Mathews holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne, a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from the Australian National University, and is fluent in Indonesian.(*)