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[Hydrographic ties strengthened between Australia and PNG]

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Minister for Defence Media Mail List -----------------------------------------------------------------------


Friday, 20 June 2008 028/2008

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, Greg Combet, today unveiled new hydrographic charts for Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of this year’s United Nations World Hydrography Day celebrations.

Mr Combet, representatives from PNG, the Royal Australian Navy and members of Parliament were joined by staff from the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS) at an event in Parliament House today, to officially mark the completion of the PNG Hydrographic Chart Recompilation and Modernisation Project.

Mr Combet said that “Australia’s capacity building contributions in the South-West Pacific region were the focus of this year’s celebrations”.

“The Royal Australian Navy’s Australian Hydrographic Service has recently completed a series of new paper and Electronic Navigational Charts for the entire PNG region”.

“This important regional development will enable much safer shipping and navigation through the environmentally sensitive area of Torres Strait and throughout PNG waters”.

“The PNG Chart Modernisation project, funded by the Asian Development Bank to rehabilitate the maritime safety infrastructure in PNG waters, has been managed by the AHS resulting in the completion of 39 PNG paper and electronic navigational charts.”

Mr Combet also presented a gift to the PNG High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency Charles Lepani, OBE, during the celebration.

The gift consisted of two charts of Port Moresby - one of the older fathoms chart and the other of the new metric chart that replaced it - symbolic of Australia’s involvement in helping update the existing PNG hydrographic chart folio.

“World Hydrography Day is celebrated annually by Hydrographic Offices around the world, to raise public awareness of the importance of hydrography and nautical cartography to allow safety of life at sea, reliable maritime trade and the ongoing protection of the marine environment” said Mr Combet.

Media contacts: Rod Hilton (Greg Combet): 02 6277 4771 or 0458 276 619

Melinda McMullen (Corporate Communications Manager): 02 4221 8665 or 0417 030 874 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664