PHUKET: Jobs are being advertised for the new Australian Consulate-General on Phuket, indicating an opening could come early in the new year.
Although official confirmation was not forthcoming yesterday from the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, the jobs listings indicate that rapid progress has been made since the Australian Government announced in May that the Phuket project was back on again.
The number of Australians visiting the Phuket and the Andaman region has grown rapidly since the 2004 tsunami, leading to a decision to provide a facility similar to one in Bali, Indonesia, and with a fulltime staff.
It’s understood that the offices are likely to be near the present law office premises of the honorary consul, Michelle Hawryluk, in the bypass road, Phuket City.
Ms Hawryluk’s tenure as honorary consul would end with the opening of the Consulate-General.
The top position on Phuket is likely to be popular and will attract some interest among the diplomatic community in Canberra.
A new Australian embassy also remains under construction in Bangkok, an indication of the growing scale of the commitment to Australia-Thailand relations.
The area of responsibility of the officials in the Consulate-General would cover Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga and probably be extended to include other parts of southern Thailand, depending on staff numbers.
Having a fulltime staff on Phuket should enable expat residents and tourists to have passport services performed that would otherwise require a trip to Bangkok.
Vacancies now being advertised by the Australian Embassy for Phuket include:
A Consular and Passport Manager at 76,450 baht a month, commencing in December;
A Consular and Passport Officer at 49,622 baht a month;
An Administrative Assistant at 39,115 baht a month;
A Driver and Administrative Assistant at 27,911 baht a month.
Details about the vacancies can be found at thailand.embassy.gov.au
Cheaper fares from Australia to Phuket over the past few years have attracted travellers who are less inclined to do their research or to take account of cultural differences in Thailand, increasing the workload for envoys.