31 January 2014
Australian Chief of Army visits Papua New Guinea
The Australian Chief of Army Lieutenant General (LTGEN) David Morrison AO, and Australia’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ms Deborah Stokes, today (31 January) attended the handover parade at Murray Barracks for the incoming Commander of the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF), Brigadier General (BRIGGEN) Gilbert Toropo, DMS, MBE.
During his visit LTGEN Morrison met with BRIGGEN Toropo to discuss the new Commander’s priorities for the PNGDF. In particular, BRIGGEN Toropo and LTGEN Morrison discussed the recently-released PNG Defence White Paper, the path it charts to building a more professional and capable PNGDF, and how Australia can support PNG in this important endeavour for national and regional security.
Head of Australian Defence Staff in Papua New Guinea, Colonel Dick Parker, noted that “Australia’s relationship with PNG is one of our most important, and LTGEN Morrison reaffirmed our commitment to deepening our longstanding defence relationship through our growing Defence Cooperation Program. LTGEN Morrison welcomed the release of PNG’s Defence White Paper, and signalled Australia’s keenness as long-term Defence partners to work together with PNG to maintain regional security.”
Australia’s assistance to PNG Defence supports maritime and border surveillance, professional skills development, defence planning and management and infrastructure needs.
Since 2011, the Defence Cooperation Program has grown from 23 million kina to over 50 million kina to deliver jointly agreed activities. Australian assistance now includes mentoring and training teams that work with the PNGDF to build its professionalism and capability.
LTGEN Morrison last visited PNG in October 2013.