A contingent of 38 Indonesian military engineers were welcomed to Australia yesterday to help out on Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20.
CAPTION: Engineers from Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Indonesia’s national armed forces – are welcomed at RAAF Base Richmond in support of Operation Bushfire Assist. Photo by Corporal Dan Pinhorn.
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
Indonesian Ambassador Yohanes Kristiarto Soeryo Legowo, greeted his countrymen as they arrived at RAAF Base Richmond.
“We never forget what Australia has done for Indonesia,” Mr Legowo said.
“This is the real manifestation of the true friendship that exists between Indonesia and Australia.”
Command of the TNI soldiers was ceremonially handed over to Commander JTF 1110 Brigadier Michael Garraway who welcomed Indonesia’s generous offer of support.
“Fifteen per cent of the state of New South Wales has been destroyed by fires and there is still much work to be done – so, we are very pleased to have the TNI soldiers come and give us a hand,” Brigadier Garraway said.
“The TNI and ADF will work together clearing roads and removing large amounts of fire debris, as well as performing other vital relief functions.”
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the Australian government was deeply grateful to Indonesia for their commitment to send more than 30 military engineers to support Australia’s bushfire response.
“As the impact of the bushfires continues to be felt across Australia, the Australian Defence Force has deployed significant resources to support the bushfire response and recovery effort,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Indonesia’s military personnel have arrived in Australia and are preparing to support operations in the Blue Mountains.
“Our Indonesian neighbours have significant disaster-relief and -recovery experience which complements the Australian Defence Force’s capabilities.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said it was reassuring to have such close friends in our time of need.
“Indonesia’s support to the Australian people is deeply appreciated and demonstrates the strong bond between our countries,” Minister Payne said.