The Australian Defence Force has accepted a Republic of Fiji offer to provide a platoon of engineers to help out on Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20.
FILE PHOTO (March 12016): Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Sapper Gone Ketcee with Australian Army Sappers Tim Flack and David Jones on Koro Island during Operation Fiji Assist. Photo by Able Seaman Chris Beerens.
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
The Fijians will will work alongside ADF personnel operating out of East Gippsland.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Australia was deeply grateful for Fiji’s generous offer to support Australia’s emergency bushfire response through the provision of troops from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
“Australia welcomes Fiji’s offer to provide an engineering platoon to assist in the bushfire fighting and recovery efforts,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Fiji’s offer of assistance exemplifies the strength of our ties with Pacific neighbours.
“This offer of friendship in a time of need is deeply appreciated and continues to demonstrate how Australia and Fiji are family.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said Fiji’s offer to provide its own military personnel to support Australia was a valued reminder of the strength of the bonds between the two countries.
“We are very grateful to have them by our side right now. We know we can rely on Fiji,” Senator Payne said.
Fiji’s Minister for National Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu said Australia and Fiji had a long history of cooperation and support in times of natural disasters.
“Fiji stands in solidarity with the people of Australia and is proud to offer military assistance,” Mr Seruiratu said.
“In Fiji we have a word – Vuvale which means ‘family’ or ‘my home is your home’.
“Australia and Fiji are family in every respect and we will support Australia at this difficult time.
“This military assistance embodies the principles of the Vuvale.”
Australian and Fijian militaries regularly exercise and train together, which will make the integration easier to manage on the ground.
Defence has received additional offers from other international partners and expects these to be progressively developed as need and circumstances evolve.