Joint media release
- Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Australia thanks Papua New Guinea for its support to Australia’s emergency bushfire response through the provision of military personnel from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).
Around 80 military engineers, as well as a command and liaison element from the PNGDF arrived in Australia today.
The personnel are drawn from the Engineer Battalion based in Lae, the 1st Battalion Royal Pacific Islands Regiment and from other headquarter elements based in Port Moresby.
The PNGDF contingent will be employed alongside ADF elements from the Townsville-based 3rd Brigade as part of a joint engineer element deployed to Victoria under Joint Task Force 646.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the PNGDF personnel will be highly suited to tasks in remote and arduous conditions.
“Our Papua New Guinean friends are here to help in our time of need. The warmth and affinity between our two peoples is testimony to the true friendship we share,” Senator Reynolds said.
“This support further strengthens our Defence Cooperation Program which celebrated its 40th year in 2019.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said Papua New Guinea’s support to the response to the bushfire crisis strengthens the existing broad-ranging partnership we enjoy as near neighbours and close friends.
“It means a lot to our country to have our Papua New Guinean friends by our side as we face this challenging situation,” she said. “It marks another important step in our journey together as partners with a shared history and an ambitious vision for our future together.”
Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Defence, the Hon Saki Soloma said “We are Pacific neighbours and we are also family. We are here to help our Australian brothers and sisters. When Australia is hurting, we hurt too. That is why we are here to help. The PNGDF and ADF know each other well through our regular exercises and training. Today is a proud day for our two nations as Papua New Guinea prepares to deploy our bushfire assistance to Australia”.
Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Hon Patrick Pruaitch said “We have been through a lot together as friends and partners. We stand with our Australian friends to face this devastation. Today the partnership between our nations grows even stronger”.
Full details on the ADF’s operations to date are available at https://news.defence.gov.au/national/defence-boosts-bushfire-support.