Rhonda Piggott commenced as Director of the New South Wales State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in June 2015. She is responsible for managing DFAT’s engagement with the State Government, business, regional authorities, academia and community groups and the Consular Corps, one of the largest in the world.
Rhonda is a career diplomat. Overseas, Rhonda has served in Brussels as Deputy Head of Mission, with responsibility for Australia’s engagement with the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), from 2007-2010; in Geneva at Australia’s Mission to the World Trade Organization from 1996-1999; and in Brasilia from 1987-1990.
Rhonda has extensive experience in trade and economic policy issues and negotiations. During Australia’s year as G20 host in 2014, Rhonda was a senior member of Australia’s G20 Policy Taskforce, located in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and played a key role in shaping and delivering the G20’s trade agenda. She has worked on a range of multilateral trade issues in the WTO. Rhonda led Australia’s services and investment free trade agreement negotiations with China from 2005-2007, and with the United Arab Emirates in 2004-2005 and was a member of the agriculture, quarantine and technical barriers to trade teams during free trade agreement negotiations with the United States of America in 2004.
In addition, Rhonda has worked on foreign and security policy issues, including in Brussels on Australia’s engagement with NATO in Afghanistan (2007-2010) and as chair of the Commonwealth agencies’ committee on Afghanistan and Pakistan (2013). She managed PM&C’s MH17 taskforce in mid-2014 and worked in that Department’s International Division in 2013, with responsibility for North Asia, South Asia, Africa, the United Nations and Middle East issues. She attended the month-long Senior Executive course at the Australian National Security College in November 2013.
Rhonda holds a Master of Public Policy from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons History) from the University of Queensland.