Australia sends virtual conference gear to Pacific Islands

By Amy Sarcevic
Tuesday, 07 July, 2020

Australia sends virtual conference gear to Pacific Islands

As part of its COVID-19 recovery response, the Australian Government has delivered more than 30 Microsoft Surface Hub virtual conferencing systems to its partner security agencies across the Pacific Islands.

Initially being sent to Vanuatu and Fiji, the first batch of equipment — delivered through Air Force, humanitarian corridor and commercial flights — will enable regional security leaders to participate in the virtual Joint Heads of Pacific Security (JHoPS) event, held in late 2020.

Later being rolled out in other Pacific Island nations, the systems will provide ongoing engagement, training and regional crisis response, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the initiative highlights the meaningful engagement between Australia and its neighbours during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

“Defence has been closely engaged with our partners in the Southwest Pacific region throughout the COVID-19 response,” Minister Reynolds said.

“We are delivering these virtual conferencing systems to our Pacific Island partners to enable security leaders and agencies to remain connected, while we cannot physically be together.

“These simple and reliable virtual conferencing systems will support discussions on responding to the collective challenge of COVID-19, as well as collaborative approaches to regional matters.”

Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke said the arrangement is part of ongoing work Australia is conducting with the Pacific community on shared security interests.

“Australia is as committed as ever to supporting the security community across our Pacific family. The JHoPS is a great example of regional security leaders working together for peace and prosperity in the Pacific and this investment further enables that work,” Minister Hawke said.

The systems will also be delivered to Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Palau, Timor-Leste, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Niue and Nauru.

Image ©Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

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