The Australian Defence Force has delivered election material to support the Papua New Guinea government’s 2017 national elections.
CAPTION: Corporal Rob Johnson, 5th Aviation Regiment, guides an MRH-90 helicopter for landing during Operation Hannah in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Corporal Jake Sims.
About 200 ADF personnel deployed to Port Moresby for Operation Hannah, the ADF’s contribution to the Australian government’s support for the 2017 PNG national election.
Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules, C-27J Spartan and B-300 King Air transport aircraft and Australian Army MRH-90 helicopters delivered election material to provincial centres and other key locations in the lead up to the commencement of polling, which will take place from 24 June to 8 July 2017.
Deputy Chief of Joint Operations Major General Greg Bilton said the ADF support included aircraft not readily available in PNG.
“The mountainous terrain and the spread of islands in PNG means air transport is highly valued,” Major General Bilton said.
“Military aircraft capabilities needed to be effective across the diverse terrain encountered in PNG’s highlands and archipelago.
“Since 10 June 2017 we’ve delivered more than 100,000 pounds of election materials and we’ve supported the movement of more than 200 Papua New Guinean security personnel around PNG,” he said.
Commander of the Australian contingent Lieutenant Colonel Travis Gordon said the most gratifying thing about the mission had been the warm greetings received from PNG officials, troops and civilians alike.
“Papua New Guineans are very welcoming. They understand we are here to support their election and they genuinely appreciate Australia’s efforts,” Lieutenant Colonel Gordon said.
Now that the ADF has completed its primary task, it has reduced its presence – though some elements of the ADF contingent will remain in PNG to provide movement support during polling, and to help transport personnel once polling has finished.
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