Ms Sarah Kirlew has been appointed Australia’s next Consul-General in Chennai.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne made the announcement this morning.
Ms Kirlew has been a career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has previously served overseas in Beijing, New Delhi and Cairo.
The Australia-India relationship Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is one of our closest and most significant in the Indo-Pacific region, under pinned by the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreed to by Prime Ministers Morrison and Modi in June 2020.
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. Our consular officers in Chennai have been central to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s support for Australians seeking to return during COVID-19, with five flights facilitated from Chennai alone since 23 October 2020.
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.
In addition to Ms Kirlew’s overseas postings, she has worked in Canberra 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.
Sarah Kirlew holds a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of London; and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.
Minister Payne also thanked the outgoing Consul-General Susan Grace for her contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in Chennai since 2018.