From: Defence Media
Sent: Fri 23/05/2014 10:30 AM

Australian forces lend a hand in Timor-Leste for Pacific Partnership

Australian Defence Force (ADF) medical specialists and engineers will join regional partners in Timor-Leste as part of Pacific Partnership 2014. Pacific Partnership is an annual United States-sponsored humanitarian and civic assistance exercise aimed at strengthening international relationships with partner and host nations in the Asia-Pacific.

A contingent of 22 ADF construction engineers, 12 medical staff and 11 command staff will deploy to Timor-Leste from 24 May until 25 June 2014 to conduct engineering and medical support projects.

The ADF medical specialists will provide training for Timorese military paramedics and for health workers and hospital staff in Timor-Leste. They will also provide dental services to local communities.

Lieutenant Commander Victoria Caton, a Nursing Officer whose core specialty is midwifery, has previously lived and worked in Timor-Leste and is excited by the challenge.

“Pacific Partnership is all about pitching in and helping our friends, with our focus being on professional development programs and subject matter expert exchanges,” Lieutenant Commander Caton said.

“We will be collaborating with the United States military and the Timorese to deliver courses in basic life support, safe motherhood and essential newborn care, emergency services and pre-hospital care.

“Australians have a long-standing friendship with the Timor-Leste people and the team is very much looking forward to strengthening that relationship even further.”

The ADF engineers will construct a new medical centre in Dili and will join with US military engineers to build a laboratory and emergency room at Comoro along with a dining facility and kitchen at Comoro Intermediate School.

Pacific Partnership began as a military-led humanitarian response to the devastation wrought by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that swept through parts of Southeast Asia.

Since 2006, Pacific Partnership has focused its mission on providing humanitarian and civic action programs that strive to improve critical infrastructure and support host nation programs that provide health, education, and common services to local populations.

The aim of Pacific Partnership 2014 is to establish opportunities for multinational crisis response capabilities to support humanitarian assistance and civic actions. It has become an important, cooperative program that provides the ADF with the opportunity to work with partner nation militaries, host nation civilian agencies and non-government organisations to enhance our collective ability to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Lieutenant Commander Victoria Caton will be available for interview. Please submit interview requests to Defence Media Operations.

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

Media note:
Pacific Partnership links