Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 14, 2011 09:00 ET

Minister MacKay Strengthens Defence Relations with Australia

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2011) - Today, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, concluded a three-day visit in Australia, during which he held bilateral meetings with his counterpart and other Australian ministers.

"Canada and Australia are both members of the Commonwealth, we share a long history of defence cooperation, and our relationship is strongly rooted in common ties, values and respect for democracy. Canada and Australia are exploring closer collaboration through bilateral discussions like these," said Minister MacKay. "Australia is a like-minded nation and a key partner with Canada. Our countries share many allies and are leading partners in the Asia-Pacific defence dynamic."

While in Australia, Minister MacKay met his counterpart, Australian Minister for Defence, Mr. Stephen Smith, Minister for Defence Materiel, The Honourable Jason Clare, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, The Honourable Warren Snowdon, and Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd. During the meetings, they discussed defence reform, procurement practices, general Asia-Pacific defence issues, and the transformation of the Australian Defence department.

Upon his arrival in Canberra, Minister MacKay attended a September 11th commemoration ceremony, and the following morning Minister MacKay paid tribute to Commonwealth soldiers by laying a wreath at the Australian War Memorial. Moreover, on September 13th, he spoke to an audience of defence and government officials and academics at the Australian Defence College, during which he emphasized the strong military ties between both Australia and Canada and Canada's ongoing interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

Canada and Australia worked closely together in Afghanistan, and continue to build on their strong bilateral defence relations. Minister MacKay agreed to loan two Husky armoured vehicles and one Buffalo mine-protected vehicle to Australia until the end of 2012, which will allow their engineers in Oruzgan province to detect explosive hazards with low metal content, such as mines and improvised explosive devices.

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