International relationships strengthened through Pacific Partnership

Australia will be strengthening relationships throughout the Pacific from April with participation in the sixth annual United States-led humanitarian assistance mission – Pacific Partnership 2011.
Ships from the U.S, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, and a helicopter crew from France, along with health specialists and engineers from the US military, Australian Defence Force (ADF), Canadian Defence Force, Singaporean Defence Force and Spanish Defence Force will form the basis of a humanitarian assistance mission in the Pacific region over the next four months.

As part of Pacific Partnership 2011 medical, dental, veterinary and engineering aid projects will be conducted in Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Federated States of Micronesia. ADF personnel will work closely with host nation defence forces to deliver these projects.

The mission marks the sixth year of Australian participation and is aimed at strengthening international relationships and interoperability for disaster relief in the region.

Throughout the deployment, approximately 50 ADF personnel will be based onboard the American amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland. Additionally, HMA Ships Betano and Balikpapan will contribute to the mission through vital ship to shore activities in some countries.

Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Mark Evans, said the support the Australian Defence Force is providing demonstrates Australia’s commitment to the region and the ADF’s focus on interoperability with our neighbours and other nations operating within the region.

Pacific Partnership has been held annually by the U.S Pacific Fleet since the devastating effects of the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.

The Commander of the Australian National Command Element for Pacific Partnership 2011, Commander Ashley Papp, RAN, is available for interview.

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia

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