Today, I had my first meeting with Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. It was a warm and productive discussion between trusted allies.
After congratulating Secretary Austin on his appointment we reaffirmed our shared commitment to the US-Australia Alliance and noted that our friendship has never been more important.
Secretary Austin and I had a wide-ranging discussion on the ambitious year ahead to further deepen our cooperation, including progressing the significant outcomes from the 2020 Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) meeting.
During our call, I conveyed to Secretary Austin my focus this year on progressing bilateral force posture initiatives, defence industry cooperation, and enhancing our regional activities including with regional and global partners.
We reaffirmed the Indo-Pacific as a key Alliance focus, and that Australia and the United States will continue to work side by side with allies and partners to maintain a region that is secure, prosperous, inclusive and rules-based.
We agreed it is vital that we continue working together across the breadth of our relationship as the Indo-Pacific region evolves and faces new challenges.
This year we will mark 70 years since the signing of the ANZUS Treaty. The Australia-US Alliance has never been more important as we look ahead to our strategic challenges.
I look forward to meeting with Secretary Austin in person when circumstances permit and also to welcome him to Australia later this year for the 2021 AUSMIN meeting.
After more than a century since we first fought side-by-side, the shared values and unwavering defence relationship between our two countries remain unbreakable. We share sophisticated strategic and economic shared interests, common values and deep historical and cultural bonds.