Australia Appoints New Ambassador to Laos

Australia Appoints New Ambassador to Laos
Australian Embassy in Laos. (Photo: Australia in Laos)

Megan Jones will take office as the new Australia’s Ambassador to Laos, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong announced on 12 November.

Jones is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Assistant Secretary to the Indian Ocean and South Asian Regional Branch.

The newly appointed ambassador will take office in place of Paul Kelly, who has served the mission since February 2021.

Laos and Australia have shared a long history of bilateral cooperation, crossing the 70-year mark on diplomatic relations in 2022. One of the main shared achievements of the relationship was the first Lao-Thai Friendship bridge, and its role as a crucial first step in Laos’ connectivity agenda.

“Our partnership is supported by warm people-to-people ties, and a longstanding development cooperation program focused on areas including human capacity building, education, infrastructure, climate, and energy,” Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, said in a press release.

Australia has also been an avid supporter of the Lao government’s investment in human resource development, said Paul Kelly. Lao-Australian collaboration on education and human resource development dates back to the early years of the Colombo Plan, a post-colonial initiative launched in 1951, initially by seven Commonwealth nations, to boost Asian economic and social development through economic and technical assistance.

The relations between the two nations also continued to solidify as Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, announced the intention of elevating the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership. Reflecting the nation’s commitment to strengthen close bilateral ties, and the shared interest in a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.

Laos has also been Australia’s ‘Country Coordinator’ for ASEAN from 2021 to 2024, taking overall responsibility for coordinating and promoting the interests of ASEAN in its relations with Australia, along with regional and international organizations and institutions.