South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting

Media Release – Thursday 30 April 2015

 

SOUTH PACIFIC DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING IN

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

 

Tomorrow I will attend the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting (SPDMM) in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.  I will be accompanied by the Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, AC, who will attend the associated South Pacific Chiefs of Defence Meeting.

The SPDMM involves the Defence Ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga, as well as senior representatives from France and Chile. Representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu have been invited to attend as observers.

The meeting provides an opportunity for regional Defence Ministers and Chiefs of Defence Forces to discuss common security challenges and identify ways to improve regional security cooperation.

Maintaining interoperability and familiarity between regional defence forces is critical to supporting regional stability in the future. This was recently demonstrated by the regional response following Cyclone Pam, with several patrol boats from the Australian-supported Pacific Patrol Boat Program providing coordinated assistance to Vanuatu and Tuvalu.

Tomorrow’s meeting is an opportunity to emphasise the importance of a partnership approach in maintaining regional security and reaffirm Australia’s ongoing commitment to a stable and secure South Pacific.

I will also update the forum on the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP), including the recent release of the Request for Tender for Project SEA 3036 Phase 1 – Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement.

While in Port Moresby, I will conduct bilateral meetings with counterparts from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga, and meet with senior representatives from France and Chile.

Australia is pleased to support Papua New Guinea as the host of this important dialogue which highlights the South Pacific’s regional approach to protecting and promoting our shared peace and prosperity.

The inaugural SPDMM was hosted by the Kingdom of Tonga in 2013.