Aussie defence chief in PNG to enhance ties

National, Normal

The National, Thursday August 1st, 2013

 THE Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Gen David Hurley, is visiting the country this week “in support of our enduring PNG-Australia defence partnership”.

He is here with his wife, Linda, on his inaugural visit and will meet PNG Defence Force troops in Port Moresby and Wewak, East Sepik.

He will hold talks with PNGDF commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi and discuss ways in which Australia and PNG can work together to ensure that the region is safe and secure.

“The PNGDF has been an important contributor to regional operations such as the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (RAMSI), and is important that we build on our experience,” says Australia’s Defence adviser in Port Moresby, Col Dick Parker.

Gen Hurley will meet Defence secretary John Porti and government officials to discuss ways to increase defence ties. 

This follows the signing of a PNG-Australia defence cooperation arrangement by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in May.

“The defence cooperation arrangement recognises the maturity of the defence relationship between PNG and Australia,” Parker said. 

“The arrangement will be used as framework to deliver an expanded defence cooperation programme activities in PNG, which this year will grow to approximately A$27 million (K56.3 million).”

Linda (Hurley) will meet with defence force families and experience Port Moresby’s significant cultural and historical sights.

Hurley assumed his appointment as CDF on July 4, 2011.