Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne today announced the appointment of Ms Sarah Kirlew as Australia’s next Consul-General in Chennai.
Ms Kirlew is a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She previously served overseas in Beijing, New Delhi and Cairo.
In Canberra, she worked in a range of Indo-Pacific focused foreign and economic policy roles within the department, including on Australia’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific and geo-economic issues.
Ms Kirlew holds a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of London; and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.
Introducing our new Consul General for South India, Ms Sarah Kirlew! pic.twitter.com/RJZauOnetc
— Aus Consulate Chennai (@AusCGChennai) February 4, 2021
In an official statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne thanked outgoing Consul-General Susan Grace for her contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Chennai since 2018.
The Consulate-General in Chennai is located on India’s Indian Ocean coastline and plays a key role in pursuing Australia’s strategic, trade and investment interests in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and the Union Territories of Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Only last week the Australian High Commissioner to India, Barry O’ Farrell, along with Consul General Sarah Kirlew, called on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The Australian delegation discussed opportunities for building assets in the state, through infrastructure projects such as ports, industrial parks and desalination plants which can be monetized long term.
Mr Farrell and others deliberated about financing, exploring funding and asset recycling where government assets can be monetised for a win-win partnership.
The delegation which met Chief Minister Reddy late on Tuesday also touched upon the possibility of collaboration in education and skill development.
They discussed the possibility of Australian universities tying up the best varsities in the state and also leveraging the collaboration to develop joint research and development programmes.
“Collaboration with University of Curtin to set up a university centre of excellence focussed on mining in collaboration with Australian government in Visakhapatnam,” said an official.
Likewise, the diplomats talked about engaging more to diversify the trade baskets of Andhra Pradesh and Australia, leveraging the proximity and coastal region of the state for enhancing trade in critical minerals such as Lithium, coal and also liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Similarly, the diplomats informed the Chief Minister that the government of Australia has also expressed interest to partner with the state in the Med Tech zone in research and development.
Southern India includes some of India’s fastest-growing and most economically advanced cities and regions, offering a range of opportunities for Australian business. It is home to India’s dynamic innovation, start-up and technology sectors, a valued source of students and tourists to Australia and where many Indian-Australians draw their ancestry.
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