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Defence Parliamentary Secretary to visit Solomon Islands.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon. Sandy Macdonald Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate PARLSEC 042/2006 Saturday 6 May 2006 DEFENCE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO VISIT SOLOMON ISLANDS Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon. Sandy Macdonald will visit the Solomon Islands this weekend (Sunday 7 May). Senator Macdonald will visit Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel serving with the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The deployment of ADF personnel, at the invitation of the Solomon Islands Government, aims to ensure the ongoing success of RAMSI in improving law and order in the Solomon Islands. Australia remains ready to assist the Solomon Islands Government to maintain security and stability. ADF personnel are working alongside personnel from New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea as they support the Royal Solomon Islands Police and RAMSI Participating Police Forces who are responsible for law and order in the Solomon Islands. “The Australian Government recognises the important contribution that ADF personnel are making in the Solomon Islands. These soldiers, sailors and airmen were deployed at short notice and have provided an immediate positive effect,” Senator Macdonald said. “Our service personnel are some of the best in the world and it is important that their contribution is acknowledged, especially when they are serving overseas,” he said. Approximately 400 ADF troops are now deployed in the Solomon Islands, including infantry soldiers from the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment, two Army UH-1H Iroquois Helicopters, RAAF Air Field Defence Guards and Navy Patrol Boats. ADF personnel have been greeted warmly by the local population and, as they have demonstrated since 2003, are always ready to assist their regional neighbours. Media information: Media Adviser: Rachel Kingsford Smith 0408 019 537 (Senator Macdonald will be available in Canberra on Monday morning for radio and TV interviews) Defence Media Contact: (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664