Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon have welcomed the successful completion of a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief tabletop exercise by Australian and Indonesian Defence Force personnel.
The exercise, known as ‘HADREX13’, took place on 5-6 June at Robertson Barracks in Darwin.
During their annual Leaders’ Meeting in Darwin on 3 July 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed that Australia and Indonesia would cooperate on a tabletop exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. They also agreed to invite East Asia Summit member countries, which include the United States and other regional partners, to the exercise.
Australian and Indonesian Defence Forces have a long history of cooperation on disaster response, stretching back over 40 years.
Indonesian aircraft provided supplies to Darwin following Cyclone Tracy in 1974. More recently, Australia provided assistance to Indonesia in response to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and the Sumatra earthquake in March 2005. Australia also provided health and reconstruction assistance following the 2009 Padang earthquake in West Sumatra.
This week’s exercise in Darwin enabled Indonesian and Australian military planners to consider how our two countries might jointly respond to natural disasters in our region. It was also an opportunity for the two Defence Forces to consider the practical realities and challenges of working together in a difficult disaster scenario.
Personnel from the US Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, co-located with Australian Defence Force personnel at Robertson Barracks, participated in HADREX13. They considered how the United States could contribute to a combined Australia-Indonesia response to a regional disaster scenario.
Military representatives from the seven East Asia Summit member countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam also observed the exercise.
HADREX13 is an important example of the practical defence-to-defence and military-to-military cooperation that occurs in our region. These practical activities and exercises help to build habits of mutual respect, trust and cooperation between militaries and nations, which minimises the prospect of tension and miscalculation.
In keeping with our strong tradition of bilateral Defence cooperation with Indonesia, Australia is in the process of transferring four C?130H aircraft to Indonesia to improve its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capability.
Australia also recently offered an additional five C-130H aircraft, a simulator and spares inventory for sale to Indonesia at a discounted rate to further boost its disaster response capacity. Our respective officials are currently in the process of negotiating this sale.
In addition to our strong bilateral engagement, Australia and Indonesia cooperate closely on defence-to-defence and military-to-military matters through a range of regional and multilateral fora.
This includes the practical cooperation and activities that occur under the auspices of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).
In September this year, ADMM-Plus will hold a counter-terrorism exercise in Indonesia, and in late September through early October, it will hold a maritime security field training exercise off Jervis Bay, Australia.
Imagery is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20130253
Minister Smith’s office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Minister Snowdon’s office: Marcus Butler (02) 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796