The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and her French counterpart, Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, today agreed to strengthen the Australia-France defence relationship by establishing formal annual Australia-France Defence Ministers meetings.
Minister Payne said Australia and France have a close and long-standing Defence relationship, based on shared interests in contributing to the rules-based global order and strong cooperation in the Pacific.
“Building on these links, and in light of the cooperation that we will have for decades to come under the Future Submarine Program, we will establish formal Defence Ministers meetings," Minister Payne said.
"In partnership with DCNS and Lockheed Martin Australia, Australia is now positioned to design a submarine that meets our unique capability requirements. Australia and France already have a close bilateral defence relationship, which will be further strengthened through Australia's Future Submarine Program," Minister Payne said.
In the sidelines of the Counter-Daesh meeting in Paris today, Minister Payne also took part in separate bilateral calls with her UK and Italian counterparts.
During the meeting with her UK counterpart, Secretary Michael Fallon, Minister Payne discussed a range of issues including developments in Iraq and Syria, and broader security and stability issues. Minister Payne also acknowledged the UK's BAE Systems interest in Australia's Future Frigate program and welcomed the broader value of Australia's defence industry cooperation with the United Kingdom.
"Australia welcomes the outcomes of the recent Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations as evidence of the continuing strong defence relationship with the United Kingdom."
The meeting with Italian Minister of Defence, Roberta Pinotti, provided an opportunity to discuss the campaign against and Australia's naval shipbuilding program and acknowledge participation by Italy's Fincantieri in Australia's Future Frigate program.
Henry Budd (Senator Payne's office) 0429 531 143
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999