Australia and Fiji reaffirm military ties

Australia and Fiji have reaffirmed the two nations’ commitment to an enduring defence relationship during a five-day visit to Australia by Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, the Honourable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.

CAPTION: Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Josaia Vorege ‘Frank’ Bainimarama with Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force Vice Admiral David Johnston, and Executive Officer HMAS Adelaide Commander Jace Hutchison on a tour of HMAS Adelaide at Fleet Base East, Sydney. Photo by Able Seaman Leo Baumgartner.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the visit highlighted the strength of the two nation’s security cooperation, which is a key pillar of the Fiji-Australia Vuvale partnership signed by Prime Ministers Morrison and Bainimarama in Canberra on 16 September.

“This continued partnership demonstrates our enduring relationship, which is strengthened through enhanced interoperability and the ability to work together to tackle security challenges in our region and globally,” Minister Reynolds said.

“During the visit, both nations announced the next phase of the Blackrock Camp redevelopment as well as cooperation on the design of a new Fiji Maritime Essential Services Centre, which will incorporate the Republic of Fiji Navy Headquarters, the Fiji Maritime Surveillance and Rescue Coordination Centre, Coastal Radio and Fiji’s Navy Hydrographic Service.”

Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke welcomed Prime Minister Bainimarama to the Australian War College where Minister Hawke outlined the next phase of the Blackrock Camp redevelopment in Nadi.

“The Blackrock Camp redevelopment project is key to the continued advancement of Fiji’s security and military forces as they prepare for policing duties, peacekeeping exercises and deployments,” Minister Hawke said.

“The project will now move to the next phase, with company CC Pines Pty Ltd awarded the contract to construct the Camp.”

Fijian Minister for National Security and Defence and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu, who is also in Australia as part of the visit, congratulated CC Pines  on the contract for main works.

“CC Pines is an experienced construction industry partner and I am confident they will deliver on a tailored solution to meet the needs of our forces, as well as our environment.”

The project will create 555 skilled and unskilled construction jobs in Fiji with the redevelopment including a new headquarters, logistics precinct, classroom facilities and living-in accommodation.

During his visit, Prime Minister Bainimarama also visited Garden Island and toured HMAS Adelaide.

He met with Australian Defence Force members who have trained alongside Fijian peacekeeping forces at the Blackrock Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Camp, and alongside Minister Reynolds, laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial in acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of Australian service men and women.

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Brian Hartigan

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