Australia joins historic multi-lateral exercise
16 August 2013
Representatives from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) made history this week when China, the United States, New Zealand and Australia conducted the first multi-lateral exercise involving all four nations.
The combined humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise known as Exercise PHOENIX SPIRIT was held in Christchurch, New Zealand this week.
Contingent Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Schultz, said Australia was pleased to be involved in the important planning activity alongside their counterparts from the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the United States military and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
Ten ADF members drawn from the Army and Navy with specialist skills in contingency planning were among the 45 military personnel who took part in the four-day emergency response planning activity.
"The exercise aims to enhance cooperation and coordination between Australia, China, the United States and New Zealand in responding to natural disasters in the Asia Pacific," Lieutenant Colonel Schultz said.
“The exercise involves the sharing of the New Zealand Defence Force's lessons learnt from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, as well as participating nations’ experiences in other recent natural disasters.”
The Australian Government provided strategic airlift support to the New Zealand Government as well as Urban Search and Rescue personnel following the earthquake in Christchurch where 185 people lost their lives in 2011.
“Sharing the experiences of responding to natural emergencies demonstrates the deepening practical cooperation between our near and far neighbours and the commitment by our countries to developing strong and positive defence relations," Lieutenant Colonel Schultz said.
"The planning activity also offers the four countries the opportunity to build a better understanding of the multi-national response that each country is likely to bring to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations."
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