Today I announce the appointment of Bryce Hutchesson as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Mr Hutchesson will also have non-resident accreditation to the Maldives.
Australia has a close and long-standing bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka, underpinned by growing trade and investment ties and extensive people-to-people links. Two-way trade in 2014 was $830 million and Australia is home to a 130,000-strong Sri Lankan community.
Our relationship encompasses development cooperation, education and close collaboration on countering people smuggling and transnational crime.
Australia and Sri Lanka work productively together to address shared regional and global challenges, including in the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Commonwealth.
Australia will continue to support Sri Lanka as it makes progress on national reconciliation.
Australia and the Maldives have a positive relationship, built on trade and investment, particularly in the tourism sector, and a shared history in the Commonwealth.
Mr Hutchesson is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Until recently he was acting First Assistant Secretary of the South and West Asia Division.
Mr Hutchesson has served overseas as Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi, with earlier postings in Bangkok and Tel Aviv. He has also served in Washington with the Office of National Assessments.
In Canberra, Mr Hutchesson has led DFAT’s South Asia Branch, Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch and several branches responsible for international security.
Mr Hutchesson holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.
Mr Hutchesson is expected to take up his appointment in early February 2016. I thank outgoing High Commissioner Robyn Mudie for her contribution in advancing Australia’s interests in Sri Lanka since 2012.
– Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (17 November 2015: Media Release)