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Defence Minister to visit Banda Aceh.



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Media contacts Mark Williams (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7800 0401 147 558

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Friday, 14 January 2005 007/2005

DEFENCE MINISTER TO VISIT BANDA ACEH

Defence Minister Robert Hill will travel to Banda Aceh in Indonesia on Monday, 17 January to visit ADF personnel and to inspect the progress of the disaster relief efforts, now that the full force component has reached the region.

As part of his visit, Senator Hill will meet medical staff at the ANZAC field hospital, aviation personnel at Banda Aceh airport and engineers at the Water Treatment Plant. Senator Hill will also meet with Major General Bambang Darmono, the TNI Commander of relief operations in Sumatra.

“Our personnel are working to support Indonesia’s relief efforts. Many of these personnel were recalled off leave and have been working tirelessly often in very demanding and difficult circumstances to assist the tsunami victims,” Senator Hill said.

“Like most Australians I am very proud of the work they are doing to help the people of Sumatra in their time of need.”

“Last week I visited Australia’s Command headquarters in Medan and met with the Indonesian Defence Minister in Jakarta. Monday’s visit will complete my earlier visit, which was unable to take in Aceh as a result of congestion at Banda Aceh’s airport.”

Senator Hill will also meet with the men and women who were deployed on the HMAS Kanimbla as they start reconstruction work in Banda Aceh.

“I met with the crew of HMAS Kanimbla and the Army Engineer Detachment before they departed Darwin,” Senator Hill said.

“I am looking forward to speaking to the crew about their passage to Banda Aceh and to meeting with the Army Engineers who are about to start vital clearance and reconstruction work in the city.”