ADF, RFMF joint exercise at Blackrock: Zed Seselja

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The Australian Defence Force’s Peace Operations Training Centre will be working with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces next month to deliver the very first joint training course at Blackrock in Nadi.

Australia’s Minister for International Development Zed Seselja said the Blackrock Camp will be a facility that will provide a benefit to the region, under Fiji’s leadership.

Seselja said Australia is looking forward to continuing to work with Fiji to ensure the peace, resilience and security of our region in the years ahead.

“For more than forty years, Fijian peacekeepers have served and sacrificed in peacekeeping operations across the world. Fiji’s longstanding contribution to international peace and security has done the region proud,” he said.

“Blackrock’s new training and accommodation facilities will help Fiji develop your peacekeeping capability for the future and these facilities will allow you to share Fiji’s peacekeeping expertise with our region.

“The disaster response facilities here are also world-class. Fijians have long contended with cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods, as have Australians.

“Volcanic and seismic activity is a constant risk in the region, and we know that climate change is increasing frequency and severity of weather events as well.

“The facilities here at Blackrock will make an immense contribution to regional humanitarian and disaster response efforts and this facility is a symbol of our shared values and interests.

“Our countries’ shared faiths, and the principles which underpin those faiths – love thy neighbour, do unto others as you would have them do unto you – are cornerstones of our shared worldview.

“This is what Australians mean when we refer to Pacific nations as a family through thick and thin, family sticks together,” he said.

He said the selfless heroism of 45 Fijian abattoir workers who saved aged care residents in Lismore is a potent symbol of the values our people share.

“Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, I thank you for your agreement to reassign 43 Republic of Fiji Military personnel to Australia’s Operation Flood Assist 2022,” he said.

“They will work alongside 5,000 members of the Australian Defence Force. This builds on Fiji’s support for Australia’s bushfire recovery in 2019-2020.

“Our partnership extends across the region. Our forces have been working together in the Solomon Islands, alongside those from Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, to restore law and order and support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

“We’re working together on disaster relief in Tonga as well, after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that has done so much damage there.

“Our regional cooperation is particularly important at a time when the international rules-based order is under serious strain,” he said.

He said the challenges to the rules-based international order have been brought into stark relief in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a composite platoon from the RFMF Land Force Units led by Captain Sakenasa Rokotunidau will depart Fiji today to attend phase one of the Coral Warrior Exercise at the Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, Australia.

The troops will spend two months at the headquarters of the Australian Defence Forces 7th Brigade where the infantry, logistics and combat engineering teams will be assigned to their respective ADF training units.

Gallipoli Barracks is home to the ADF’s armoured, artillery, engineer, signals, infantry, medical and other combat service support units.

Last night, a church service was held at NASA camp in Nadi to farewell the soldiers.

SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/RFMF/PACNEWS