This is the text of a media release from the Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill.
DEFENCE SUPPORT TO TSUNAMI RELIEF IN ACEH
Defence Minister Robert Hill today announced that a logistics hub is being established in Butterworth, Malaysia, to help better manage the flow of equipment and stores into tsunami affected regions in Sumatra.
“The Malaysian Government has granted approval for the Australian Defence Force to set up a logistics hub at the military facility in Butterworth. It further demonstrates the close working relationship we have with our regional partners, particularly in this time of great need,” Senator Hill said.
“The logistics hub will give the ADF greater flexibility in coordinating and moving the flow of humanitarian assistance equipment, stores and personnel to the tsunami affected areas in Sumatra while taking some pressure off the airfields in Banda Aceh and Medan.
“Specialist logistics staff will work closely with those in the recently established air operations centre to coordinate resupply aircraft movements into Sumatra. Our ADF aeromedical evacuation teams are also doing great work preparing tsunami victims for air transport to regional medical facilities while other medical staff are currently surveying Banda Aceh to prepare for the establishment of a hospital. An advance party of military engineers are also about to start their own survey work to determine the location and type of work most needed to help the people of Aceh. Army engineers are likely to be initially tasked with debris clearance and accommodation construction and the current surveys will set up a work program for the 150-strong party that will arrive onboard HMAS Kanimbla.”
The Government will continue to assess the ADF contribution to make sure it provides that most appropriate level of assistance to the people of Sumatra.