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Australia and New Zealand will work to enhance their defence cooperation in the Tasman and the Pacific region to continue battle against the coronavirus (Covid -19) pandemic.

Earlier this week, a joint teleconference was held by the defence ministers of the two countries and the Australian Minister for Defence Industry.

The conference discussed the challenges arising due to the pandemic and the measures taken by the countries to overcome them, as well as addressing support extended by the country to their respective defence industries.

New Zealand Minister of Defence Ron Mark said: “Our co-operation on supporting our defence industries and our shared experience in emergency response are important components to our strong relationship.

“Industry partners are of enduring importance to both the New Zealand and Australian Defence Forces. They provide integral support to ensure our forces are well equipped, capabilities are maintained to a high level and our sites function smoothly.”

During the conference, insights from virtual engagements conducted with industry partners were shared.

The importance of the Closer Economic Relations Agreement and the Australia and New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement was emphasised.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “As both countries continue to focus on responding to Covid -19, continued engagement with industry and the sharing of lessons learned will remain a priority for us, especially in the area of defence science and technology.”

Under the agreement, a single Australia New Zealand (ANZ) government procurement market is created and maintained.

Competitive ANZ suppliers are provided the opportunity to demonstrate their ability. They are given a platform to provide goods and services, to support industry capability development in both countries.

This reduces the cost of doing business for both the government and the industry.

Price added: “We discussed how companies like Hawker Pacific and Airbus Australia Pacific play a crucial role in supporting both Australia and New Zealand’s defence forces during this time.”