Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles Thursday hosted Defence Minister Win Bakri Daki for the 2023 Australia-Papua New Guinea Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Geelong, Victoria.
The two ministers reaffirmed the deep and broad defence partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia, which forms a key part of our Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership.
Ministers committed to continuing to support Bilateral Security Treaty negotiations and looked forward to the timely completion of negotiations.
As neighbours and close friends, Australia and Papua New Guinea share a unique relationship, based on close ties between our people, shared history, geography and an abiding interest in a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Ministers noted the joint planning and support provided by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and Australian Defence Force (ADF) in delivering much needed humanitarian support to Bougainville after the volcanic eruption at Mt Bagana in early August.
This event highlighted the important role our militaries play in supporting civilian communities and government through humanitarian and disaster response activities. It also marked the PNGDF’s success in integrating new capabilities, such as HMPNGS Cape Gloucester, into its force.
Ministers welcomed the growing interoperability between the Australian Defence Force and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. The PNGDF’s inaugural participation in Exercise Talisman Sabre, and co-hosting the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Regional Exercise Longreach are a reflection of the increasingly close ties between our defence organisations.
Ministers recognised inaugural rotational deployments of RAAF C-27J Spartan aircraft to PNG under the Defence Pacific Air Program. These deployments would provide additional aviation support to Papua New Guinea, and further integrate RAAF C-27J capabilities with the PNGDF’s sovereign PAC-750 aircraft.
The Ministers acknowledged the significance of the secondment of a PNGDF officer as the Deputy Commander of 3 Brigade. This position is a testament to the depth of ties and trust between our two countries and acknowledges the people-to-people links fostered between our defence organisations over decades.
Ministers reiterated the strategic significance of our joint initiative to redevelop the Lombrum Naval Base at Manus Island and its benefits for Papua New Guinea’s long term maritime security. They noted delivery of the fourth Guardian-class Patrol Boat, the HMPNGS Gilbert Toropo, on 4 October, as further enhancing Papua New Guinea’s maritime security capability.
Both Ministers noted the capability boost generated by Australia’s delivery of two new PAC 750 light transport aircraft for the PNGDF this year. They welcomed the commencement of the Defence Air Mobility Program in July. This regular deployment of an ADF aircraft will provide ongoing mobility support and rapid assistance to PNG, as demonstrated by support provided to the Mt Bagana relief effort.
The Ministers noted the engagement between our defence personnel, both military and civilian, as forming one of the strongest pillars of our bilateral relationship, and laying an enduring foundation for ongoing cooperation.
The Ministers agreed to continue to engage regularly, including through in person meetings at Defence Ministers Meetings and the bilateral Ministerial Forum, and reflected on the value of continued Ministerial visits to one anothers’ countries.
SOURCE: AUST GOVT/PACNEWS