Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 401f. Updated Friday, 21 March 2014

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Australia hones disaster response

Representatives from Emergency Management Australia , Defence and the Australian Embassy in Indonesia have joined an international disaster response training exercise involving a major earthquake and tsunami scenario in Indonesia.

The joint Indonesian-Australian East Asia Summit disaster management initiative aims to enhance rapid response capabilities across the region.

Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan said training exercises were critical to preparedness for major natural disasters which may be beyond the capabilities of even the best prepared nations.

"The Australian Government welcomes this opportunity to hone our readiness to provide, and potentially receive, international assistance in times of disasters," he said.

Joins East Asia exercise

Indonesia's Mentawai Megathrust 2014 disaster response training exercise is being held in Padang, West Sumatra, from 16 to 23 March.

This East Asia Summit disaster management initiative was a key priority for the Government and an important tool for supporting the work of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in disaster management, as well as broader regional disaster cooperation, Mr Keenan said.

The importance of Australia's relationship with Indonesia was reflected in close ties with the Indonesian National Agency for Disaster Management, and the support the Australian Government had provided in planning and conducting the exercise, Mr Keenan said.

Australia's delegation includes representatives from Emergency Management Australia, within the Attorney-General's Department; Defence; the Australian Civil-Military Centre and Australian Embassy Indonesia disaster response officials.

The theme of the current exercise is "strengthening collaboration and partnership in disaster response to build a resilient region".

The East Asia Summit, established in 2005, is a forum of 18 countries of the East Asia region aiming to further regional peace, security and prosperity.

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