Minister for Defence David Johnston, today met with his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Dr Fabian Pok, for the second annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
“Dr Pok and I had wide ranging discussions on how Australia and Papua New Guinea can continue to strengthen our longstanding defence relationship, in order to advance our mutual security interests,” Senator Johnston said.
High on the agenda for the meeting were Australia and Papua New Guinea’s shared maritime security interests and priorities for defence cooperation in the year ahead.
“With an annual budget of $25 million, the Defence Cooperation Program with Papua New Guinea is Australia’s largest, underscoring the importance Australia places on our bilateral defence relationship,” he said.
“Consistent with the principles outlined in the 2013 Defence Cooperation Arrangement, Australia and Papua New Guinea work together as partners to support the development of a professional and capable Papua New Guinea Defence Force and Department of Defence.”
Senator Johnston and Dr Pok had a constructive discussion on maritime security, noting that Australia and Papua New Guinea have a mutual interest in protecting maritime sovereignty.
“The gifting on 4 December of a Royal Australian Navy Landing Craft Heavy as a training ship to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force is an important part of our efforts to support Papua New Guinea’s maritime capabilities and deepen maritime security cooperation.”
Senator Johnston noted that 2014 had been a successful and busy year in the defence relationship. Over 550 ADF personnel were involved in exercises with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. Australia expanded the in-country training it offers to Papua New Guinea through Mentoring and Training Teams from the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy.
“Defence has also commenced providing security assistance and planning support for Papua New Guinea’s hosting of APEC 2018. Australia will work closely with Papua New Guinea in the lead up to this significant event.”
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999
Rebecca Horton 0477 389 554