Australia welcomes Pacific security leaders

Delegates from 14 Pacific Island nations’ police, customs, immigration and defense agencies came together for the inaugural Joint Heads of Pacific Security event in Brisbane last week.

Acting Commissioner of the Vanuatu Police Force Colonel Robson Iavro, represented Vanuatu at the event.

The conference, hosted by Australia’s Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell AO DSC, Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Reece P Kershaw APM, and Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner Michael Outram APM, facilitated strategic – level dialogue and demonstrated capabilities relevant to security agencies across the region.

The Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell opened the event by inviting Australia’s partner nations to share their challenges and allow their collective experiences to be used to address concerns.

“While each country experiences different outcomes from the effects of common security challenges, what unites us is the desire for and commitment to the sovereignty,

independence, security, and prosperity throughout the region,” General Campbell said.

Acting Commissioner of the Vanuatu Police Force Colonel Robson Iavro, speaks during a meeting about the trans-national crime at the Joint Heads of Pacific Security event in Brisbane.

“The leaders in attendance at the inaugural Joint Heads of Pacific Security event are uniquely qualified to consider and address these challenges collaboratively, but importantly, tailor their solutions to the individual needs of their nation.”

AFP Commissioner Reece P Kershaw said the strong partnership the AFP has with its policing partners in the Pacific plays an important role in combatting transnational, serious and organized crime in the region.

“The Joint Heads of Pacific Security conference provides an important opportunity to collectively share our experiences and challenges with our partners in the Pacific to ensure the safety and security of our region,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

ABF Commissioner Michael Outram said the ABF continues to work collaboratively with Australian and other Pacific law enforcement agencies to contribute to regional security.

“The ABF is closely engaged in capability development across the Pacific, and we have made concrete and visible commitment to delivering improved intelligence sharing between Pacific nations,” Commissioner Outram said.

“We are brought together by our common goals, and a shared desire to foster ongoing security and prosperity in our region – with our borders as strategic national assets to be protected while enabling legitimate travel and trade.”

The event is part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Step-up and brings together the leaders of the Pacific security agencies to share perspectives on common security challenges.