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The Pacific

Office of the Pacific

The Office of the Pacific was established in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 2019 to support Australia's deepening engagement with the Pacific, to enhance whole-of-government coordination and to drive implementation of our regional activities, consistent with the priorities of Pacific countries.

Group photo of Minister Wong, Ewen McDonald, Hon Hu’akavameiliku, Prime Minister of Tonga, Minister for Education of Tonga, Minister for Police of Tonga, and Minister for HMAF of Tonga.
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Senator the Hon Penny Wong, and former Head of the Office of the Pacific, Ewen McDonald, meet with Hon Hu’akavameiliku, Prime Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Police, and Minister for HMAF during a visit to Tonga in June 2022. Credit: DFAT.

The Office of the Pacific supports our efforts to strengthen our Pacific partnerships and build a stronger Pacific family.

The Office includes staff from DFAT, alongside secondees and transfers from a range of agencies including the Department of Defence, Home Affairs, Finance, Treasury, Australian Federal Police, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, National Indigenous Australians Agency, Attorney-General's and Health, as well as from the Infrastructure and Project Finance Agency and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The Office acts as the custodian of Australia's already deep relationships across our region, and supports the delivery of the Government's package of innovative initiatives in the Pacific, including in labour mobility and infrastructure financing.

Group photo of Minister Wong and Ewen McDonald with attendees of an eHealth Event in Tonga.
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Senator the Hon Penny Wong and former Head of the Office of the Pacific, Ewen McDonald, attend an eHealth Event, including launch of Tautua: Human Development for all, at the Ministry of Health building, Moto’otua, during a visit to Tonga. Credit: DFAT.
Group photo of Ewen McDonald with market vendors at Honiara Central Market.
Former Head of the Office of the Pacific, Ewen McDonald, meets with market vendors at Honiara Central Market. Australia supports women's economic empowerment through the Markets for Change program in Honiara, Auki and Gizo, implemented by UN Women. Credit: DFAT.
Ewen and students at a counter window

Ewen McDonald, former Head of the Office of the Pacific, visited the Australia Pacific Training Coalition to meet their trainers and experience the skills of commercial cookery and hospitality students from Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. Credit: APTC/Soli Middleby


Head of the Office of the Pacific

Ms Peak currently serves as Deputy Secretary and Head of the Office of the Pacific in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Prior she was Deputy Head and First Assistant Secretary, Pacific Strategy Division (2020-2023), co-Head of the COVID Development Taskforce and First Assistant Secretary Human Development and Governance Division (2019-2020).

Ms Peak has served overseas as Minister Counsellor (Economic) at the Australian Embassy in Beijing (2016-19) and Counsellor at the Australian High Commission in Ottawa (2006-08).

Ms Peak has represented Australia in negotiation of free trade agreements and in the United Nations on climate change, including as Assistant Secretary, Free Trade Agreements Division (2014-16), Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Climate Negotiations (2010-11), Director of the Office of International Climate Law (2008 2010). Prior to joining DFAT, Ms Peak was a lawyer at Freehills and Dwyer Durack.

Ms Peak holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from Kellogg-HKUST (2014), Master of Laws (International) from ANU (2009) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland (1996).

Elizabeth Peak

Elizabeth Peak, Head of the Office of the Pacific

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