Today I announce the appointment of Mr Brendan Berne as Australia’s next Ambassador to France with non-resident accreditation to Algeria, Mauritania and Monaco.

Australia and France enjoy a warm, productive and dynamic relationship. We have strong people-to-people links, with over 100,000 French students, working holiday makers and tourists visiting Australia each year.

In 2015-16 two-way trade in goods and services was worth around $8.7 billion, with total French investment in Australia valued at $28.3 billion. Over 500 French companies operate in Australia employing approximately 60,000 people. The partnership with French Company DCNS on Australia’s Future Submarine program is further strengthening the relationship. Our Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership establishes a framework for closer political, security and defence engagement, cooperation in the Pacific and collaboration on international challenges such as climate change.

Australia and Monaco enjoy a warm relationship with shared interests in the arts and ocean protection, including in the Blue Carbon Partnership. Australia’s ties with Mauritania are growing since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014. Australia and Algeria cooperate on a range of issues, including regional security in North Africa and in multilateral forums.

Mr Berne is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). In Canberra Mr Berne has held a range of positions including Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and First Assistant Secretary, Investment and Economics Branch Division. He has served overseas as Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy, Seoul and as Deputy Permanent Representative, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris. Most recently, Mr Berne was Chief of Staff for the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Prior to joining DFAT, Mr Berne spent several years as an Economist with the Reserve Bank of Australia.

I thank outgoing Ambassador Stephen Brady for his contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in France since 2014.