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Defence Minister Praises Defence Force

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Minister for Defence KIM BEAZLEY, MP mw / o

THURSDAY JANUARY 24, 1985. NO. 10/3!


The Minister for Defence, Mr Kim Beazley, today praised the

Australian Defence Force for its quick response ; to requests for aid from

areas affected by bushfires, the fierce Brisbane storms and

cyclone ravaged Fiji and Vanuatu.

Mr Beazley said the provision of up to 2.0 aircraft and 1000

personnel working in the field and in operations rooms around

Australia and now the south west Pacific, was something the

public might well remember when it asked how some of its defence

dollars were being spent.

The Australian Defence Force, controlled from the

recently established Headquarters, Australian Defence

Force, in Canberra and co-ordinated with civil authorities

by the Natural Disasters Organisation, fought fires in ,

Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

The three Services had provided more than 11 helicopters, five

Hercules and two Caribou transport aircraft for personnel transport

and fire spotting. Earlier,'in Brisbane, over 100 troops helped

State authorities · clear up 'the'cityloaned generators and

: provided temporary roofing for about 2000 homes damaged in -

the fierce storm on Friday night.

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Media Release

"And as if they didn't have enough on their plate, when the request

came to provide aid to Fiji and Vanuatu, the Services responded

within hours," Mr Beazley said. "The Services placed themselves

on standby immediately the first reports of the cyclones were


Since Monday, two Hercules transport aircraft had been sent to

Fiji and five to Vanuatu.

The first Fiji-bound flight carried 1000 tarpaulins, 250 rolls

of plastic sheeting and a five-man Army reconnaissance team. The

flight continued on to Vanuatu where it dropped another three-

man Army team before returning home.

The second Fiji flight arrived with about 10 tonnes of clothing

from Australian charity organisations for their Fijian counterparts.

The five Vanuatu flights started arriving early Tuesday. Two Hercules

contained one Iroquois helicopter each while a third carried 200

tarpaulins, 250 rolls of plastic sheeting and water purification

tablets and chemicals. .

The fourth flight carried 16 tonnes of long grain rice and a full

medical evacuation team which returned to Australia with a

56-year-old seriously ill Vanuatan m a n .

The fifth flight carried another three tonnes of rice, emergency

generators and lighting, water testing equipment and water containers.

Further Inquiries:

Ministerial; (062) 73 3955

Departmental; Capt Pete Smith (062) 65 2999 (S/Board) (062) 97 8676 (A/Hours)