HMAS CHOULES EMBARKS ON ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PACIFIC
HMAS Choules has deployed on a month-long activity for maritime and land training with Australian regional partners in the Southwest Pacific.
HMAS Choules, an amphibious landing ship, departed Townsville on 19 February bound for Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, where Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel will undertake an extensive program of bilateral training with regional militaries and other government agencies.
Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said the activity was an early contribution to the Australian Government’s Pacific ‘Step Up’ announced by the Prime Minister, last November.
“Regional security and stability and promoting the capacity of our regional partners remains one of the Australian Government’s highest priorities, as demonstrated by this deployment of HMAS Choules to the Southwest Pacific,” Minister Pyne said.
“This activity will enhance Australia’s engagement in the region, strengthen our regional relationships and assist in the building of regional partner capacity.
“Australia and the Southwest Pacific have partnerships built on historical and community links as well as shared trade, investment and security interests.
The deployment marks the beginning of several joint activities with regional partners in the Pacific scheduled this year.
HMAS Choules, her Ship’s Company and other ADF personnel will return to Townsville in March.