Sunday, July 24, 2011

Australia visit affirms a strong defence relationship

Caption: Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator the Hon David Feeney, inspects a ceremonial guard of honour as part of a visit to PNGDF's Goldie River Training Depot.


Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator the Hon. David Feeney, travelled to Papua New Guinea (PNG) from July 21-24, on a visit reflecting PNG and Australia’s strong and enduring defence and security relationship.

Senator Feeney met with PNG Government and Defence leaders to discuss Australia’s defence cooperation with the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF).

The programme with PNG is Australia’s largest with any country and has a budget allocation of $10.5 million (around PNGK25 million) for the 2011 financial year.

“Australia and PNG have a longstanding close friendship which is reflected in the co-operation between our two countries on a range of defence matters, from strategic planning to joint exercises.

“We will continue to build on our defence activities together in the spirit of mateship which has been a hallmark of our relationship since the shared sacrifices during World War II,” Senator Feeney said.

Australia works with the PNGDF on a range of activities including infrastructure development, maritime and border security.

The PNGDF and the Australian Defence Force conduct training and exercises together, including Exercise WANTOK WARRIOR which includes infantry, engineering, rotary wing and logistic elements.

Senator Feeney discussed defence co-operation and PNG’s Medium Term Development Plan with the Minister for Defence, Bob Dadae and the Minister for National Planning and Rural Development, Paul Tiensten.  During discussions with Brigadier General Francis Agwi and Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Lucy Bogari, Senator Feeney expressed Australia’s continued commitment to support PNG’s efforts to commence international peacekeeping.

Senator Feeney also met with senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Department, Defence, Finance, Treasury and Police, including Treasury Secretary Tosali to discuss co-operation on potential innovative funding and development models. 

Senator Feeney laid a wreath during PNG’s Remembrance Day Memorial Service at Ela Beach on Saturday and presented commemorative medallions to 13 “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” and their families during a ceremony at Bomana War Cemetery on Sunday.

“The strength and compassion of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels saved many Australian lives during World War II. The Angels represent the spirit of what we hold so dear in Australia – courage, tenacity and mateship,” he said.

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