ADF TASK GROUP IN THE SOUTH WEST PACIFIC RETURNS TO AUSTRALIA
The ADF task group of around 800 personnel which was deployed to the South West Pacific at the start of November has now returned home.
The Task Group's mission was to be ready to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of Australians in Fiji if required. The group comprised HMA Ships Newcastle, Kanimbla and Success together with an SAS contingent, evacuation handling teams, medical staff and a Black Hawk helicopter detachment. A RAAF maritime patrol aircraft was also deployed and supported the Task Group from a base in Pago Pago.
In conjunction with the Maritime Task Group deployment, the RAAF also maintained a number of C-130 Hercules and Boeing 707 transport aircraft on standby in Sydney, and the Army also had additional force elements on standby in Australia to help repatriate Australian citizens from Fiji back to Australia if necessary.
While we remain very concerned about the course that the Fijian Military has taken over the last two weeks, the situation in Fiji has remained free from violent incidents and commercial aviation flights have continued without disruption. As such, The Government has agreed that there is no requirement, at the present time, for the ADF to remain so highly postured to support the evacuation of Australian citizens from Fiji. The ADF does however remain prepared to react should a threat to Australians arise.
The ADF will maintain a close watch on the situation in Fiji. Should the situation deteriorate our Services remain ready to respond quickly should we receive such direction by the Australian Government. Our ability to deploy at short notice is well practiced and we will remain postured for a range of contingencies over the Christmas/New Year period.
Information current at 20 December 2006.