Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced that Brunei will permanently host an Australian defence adviser, as part of a broader commitment to deepen regional co-operation.
Minister Reynolds has conducted her inaugural visit to Brunei Darussalam, where she discussed bilateral and regional issues with the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah, and the Second Minister of Defence, Pehin Halbi.
As part of a broader commitment to strengthen defence ties, Minister Reynolds has announced that Australia will establish a resident defence adviser position in Brunei, effective from the end of 2020.
Defence has confirmed that Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Hauser has been appointed to the newly created role.
Minister Reynolds also marked the 75th anniversary of Australian troops landing in Brunei as part of the Oboe VI landings in the final stages of World War II by laying a wreath and paying her respects to the Australians who lost their lives.
The minister then attended the 2020 Oboe Endeavour Academic Excellence Awards ceremony, and presented awards to six high performing graduates of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces 10th Command and Staff Course.
Minister Reynolds noted that the Australian Defence Force and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces have “significantly increased” bilateral co-operation in 2020 despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
The Royal Australian Navy conducted the first official port visit by a submarine to Brunei Darussalam in March, which was followed by an expansion of the nations’ biennial maritime Exercise Penguin.
In August, the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Brunei Navy also conducted a combined passage exercise en route to Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii.
“Brunei and Australia enjoy a strong and longstanding relationship, and share common interests in a secure, stable and open Indo-Pacific,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Australia welcomes further engagement with Brunei in support of these shared interests during Brunei’s year as ASEAN chair in 2021.”
Australia will co-chair the ASEAN Regional Forum Defence Officials Dialogue in 2021, and the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Military Medicine with Brunei over 2021-23.
Minister Reynolds will conclude her tour in the Philippines before returning to Australia.