Today Thursday, 25 July and tomorrow Friday, 26 July I host Indonesia’s Minister of Defence, Dr Purnomo Yusgiantoro, in Perth for bilateral discussions and the second Annual Australia-Indonesia Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
This will be the ninth time I have met with Minister Purnomo in my capacity as Minister for Defence, and the third time we have met this year.
Australia and Indonesia have a comprehensive strategic partnership, which is characterised by increasingly strong political, security, trade, investment, development and people-to-people links.
As the 2013 Defence White Paper states, Australia’s partnership with Indonesia remains our most important defence relationship in the region. My regular engagement and productive working relationship with Minister Purnomo underscores the close cooperation between our two countries as we work to further strengthen our defence-to-defence and military-to-military partnership.
Our bilateral security and strategic cooperation with Indonesia has steadily increased in recent years under the auspices of the Lombok Treaty, which came into effect when I exchanged notes with then Indonesian Foreign Minister Wirajuda in Perth in February 2008.
The Lombok Treaty provides a modern framework for intensified bilateral cooperation across all areas of defence, law enforcement, counter-terrorism, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
During our inaugural Annual Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta in September 2012, Minister Purnomo and I signed a Defence Cooperation Agreement, which provides a formal structure for practical defence cooperation under the Lombok Treaty.
Last year saw the highest tempo of bilateral defence engagement, exercises and training between our two countries in over 15 years, includingIndonesia’s participation for the first time in Exercise Pitch Black.
Over the course of today, Minister Purnomo and I will visit Australia’s Indian Ocean port, HMAS Stirling, and tour the BAE and ASC defence facilities at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson.
Australia and Indonesia are both trading nations with long sea borders in the Indian Ocean. We share an abiding interest in maintaining a secure maritime environment in our region.
HMAS Stirling is Australia’s Indian Ocean Naval Base. While at HMAS Stirling we will tour the ANZAC-class Frigate, HMAS Toowoomba, which I welcomed back to Australia on 14 June this year following a six-month deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations.
This afternoon we will visit the Special Air Service Regiment at Campbell Barracks in recognition of the success of our bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism issues. Exercises Dawn Kookaburra and Komodo, involving Australian and Indonesian Special Forces, are held on an annual basis and focus on counter-hijack and hostage recovery.
We will also lay a wreath at the State War Memorial at Kings Park.
This evening, I will host a reception in Minister Purnomo’s honour, to be attended by prominent members of the Western Australian and Indonesian academic, business, government and community sectors.
Tomorrow, Minister Purnomo and I will hold the second Annual Australia-Indonesia Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
This will be an opportunity to review progress in our bilateral defence-to-defence and military-to-military relationship, and to examine new and emerging areas for cooperation. We will also discuss a range of issues of importance to regional and global security.
Minister Smith's office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999