A large convoy of equipment and personnel from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment based in Townsville departed Lavarack Barracks this morning bound for the fire zones of Victoria.
CAPTION: The 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment convoy departs Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, on the first leg of a long drive to Victoria. 3rd Brigade photo.
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The soldiers from Townsville will form a partnered force with their counterparts from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
The PNGDF contingent and the bulk of the 3rd Brigade personnel will travel tomorrow via Royal Australian Air Force C130 Hercules to prepare for the arrival of their convoy and to receive their orders.
“We are proud to be another part of the Townsville community contributing to the efforts and support in the unprecedented fire event,” A 3rd Brigade statement said.
Townsville’s 5th Aviation Regiment is already heavily involved in Operation Bushfire Assist, with MRH90 and CH-47F helicopters deployed.
PNG Today says Prime Minister James Marape has offered to send up to 1000 troops to Australia, but inter-government discussions settled on PNG’s immediate contribution of 100 PNGDF troops.
76 of them will be drawn from the PNGDF Engineering battalion in Lae and the balance will be field engineers from the 1-RPIR battalion at Taurama, including support staff.
An Australian C-130 troop carrier was expected to arrive in PNG this morning, then fly into Lae to bring the 76 engineers to Taurama before departing PNG for Australia tomorrow, Monday 13 January.