Australia’s operation to support Papua New Guinea’s 2022 national election has now concluded.
FILE PHOTO (June 2022): Australian Defence Force and Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission personnel begin sorting and loading ballot papers for PNG’s 2022 election, at the Air Transport Wing – Port Moresby. Photo by Corporal Jonathan Goedhart.
Operation Kimba was conducted at the request of the government of PNG as part of a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)-led whole-of-government commitment.
Australia’s election assistance program covered advisory and capacity-building assistance, voter awareness and material support including printing and delivery of ballot papers.
The Australian Defence Force deployed more than 130 personnel and three aircraft on Operation Kimba to provide specialist planning, logistics and air-transport support to the election.
Operation Kimba transported more than 110 tonnes of equipment and more than 1100 PNG security personnel to locations across the country.
ADF personnel transported more than 12 million ballot papers and associated sensitive election material on behalf of the PNG Electoral Commission.
The final component of ADF support concluded following the return of PNGDF personnel to their home units, supported by an RAAF C-130J Hercules.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles said the ADF’s support to the elections was a natural extension of Australia’s longstanding relationship with PNG.
“Operation Kimba has provided significant resources and capability before, during and after the PNG national election,” Mr Marles said.
“Australia’s relationship with PNG is based on our shared history and commitment to supporting the security and well-being of our Pacific family.
“We look forward to continuing to build on this relationship as we plan for future activities.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong said Australia’s electoral assistance was provided in response to PNG’s priorities.
“Our friendship with PNG is one of equals, based on mutual respect, understanding and trust,” Ms Wong said.
“This is another example of the Australian government’s commitment to building a stronger Pacific family.”
While Operation Kimba has concluded, the ADF continues to work and train alongside PNGDF through the longstanding Defence Cooperation Program.