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Minister for Defence meeting with the Speaker of the House of Commons, Canada, the Honourable Peter Milliken MP.



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THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

www.defence.gov.au

Thursday, 28 August 2008 107/08

MINISTER FOR DEFENCE MEETING WITH THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, CANADA, THE HONOURABLE PETER MILLIKEN MP

The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today met with a delegation of Canadian Parliamentarians led by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Canada, the Honourable Peter Milliken MP.

Discussions were focused on the bilateral Defence relationship, including materiel cooperation and Australia’s current and future operations in Afghanistan.

Canada currently has approximately 2,500 troops deployed to Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Canada is the ISAF lead country in Kandahar, one of the most dangerous provinces in Afghanistan.

Australia currently provides the largest non-NATO country commitment in Afghanistan and is among the ten largest military contributors to ISAF.

“Australia values Canada’s continuing commitment to global security, particularly in Afghanistan, and looks forward to furthering opportunities for cooperation in the areas of science, materiel and personnel,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“The Australia-Canada bilateral defence relationship is robust, with the substance of the relationship in operational cooperation, strategic dialogue, working level exchanges, an active defence science relationship, and materiel cooperation.

“We appreciate ADF access to training and personnel exchange opportunities with the Canadian Forces including: chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training; urban combat training; and ADF attendance at the Canadian Staff College,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Australia and Canada share a mature level of materiel cooperation through a range of officials’ forums and co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Materiel Cooperation in July 2004.

“Potential acquisition of common platforms such as the Canadian purchase of the C-130J, the CH-47, and the C-17 provides the opportunity for materiel cooperation to enhance Canada’s value as a coalition partner, opening up potential for further cooperation as programs develop,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

The ADF averages approximately 25 ADF personnel posted to Canada at any time, including attaché, exchange, student and instructor positions.

Media Note: Photos of the meeting will be available from approximately 1pm AEST from the Defence website www.defence.gov.au/media/download

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664