The Australian Defence Force (ADF) delivered two ambulances to Port Moresby today as part of its ongoing support to help bolster Papua New Guinea (PNG) health services. The vehicles were transported on a RAAF C-130J Hercules at the request of St John Ambulance Service PNG.
Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said the ADF welcomed this opportunity to assist St John Ambulance PNG. “We’re proud to play a part in supporting PNG’s emergency ambulance service, and ability to provide increased primary healthcare to communities and rural villages,” Bilton said.
The PNG Troop Carrier ambulances were refurbished in Darwin by St John Northern Territory (NT). St John NT CEO Judith Barker said the contract was testament to the skills and expertise of the St John NT Mechanical Workshop. “Our Mechanical Workshop is responsible for building and maintaining the NT ambulance fleet which operates in often extreme weather and environmental conditions. We are pleased to share this expertise with St John PNG as they too work in similar conditions,” Barker said. “These vehicles are dedicated off-road 4WD response vehicles. They will be used in remote areas, with rough terrain, for specialised medical emergency retrievals. St John NT has worked with a number of Australian suppliers to ensure the PNG ambulances are fitted out with equipment suitable for the challenging conditions they are likely to face.”
Bilton said Defence has delivered three ambulances in total to PNG in the past month, along with other critical supplies and equipment to assist in the country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. “Defence is currently providing targeted assistance including technical and logistics support as part of the whole-of-Australian Government support to PNG,” he said. “This has included transporting Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) personnel, medical equipment, vaccines and other humanitarian supplies to Port Moresby.
Australia and PNG share a strong relationship and this support is a natural extension of Defences long-standing partnership with the PNG Defence Force through the Defence Cooperation Program.