MPs fly to Jakarta for talks

THREE Australian Government ministers have arrived in Indonesia to negotiate improved rescue responses to help cut the mounting asylum-seeker drowning toll.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith, Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare, whose portfolios each share responsibility for asylum seekers, flew to Jakarta on Tuesday.

While Mr Smith was at pains to avoid going into too much detail ahead of meetings with his Indonesian counterpart, he did say the visit would seek to improve "co-operation" on the search and rescue of asylum seekers adrift at sea.

But he said the co-operation would more likely involve Indonesia giving Australian authorities freer access to its water and air space, rather than supplying the South-east Asian nation with the capacity to do so itself.

"What we want to do is to make sure that the co-ordination is first class, that there is a sharing of experience," he said.

"We're also looking at exchange, for example, or officers so that Indonesian search-and-rescue officers have experience directly in our system and vice versa."

Mr Smith said it was more a case of making sure whoever was closest to the scene of a search and rescue got there "in a speedy way".

The annual talks between the three Australian Cabinet colleagues and their Indonesian counterparts also were likely to extend to wider defence issues, including the rotating stationing of more than 2000 United States Defence personnel in Darwin.



Communication key as Moss relishes big game atmosphere

premium_icon Communication key as Moss relishes big game atmosphere

GRAFTON aims to right the ship as they set sail for the grand final.

Council to look to Taree's example in cutting red tape

premium_icon Council to look to Taree's example in cutting red tape

Main St businesses' result should lift our confidence

Council looks to take business out to the streets

Council looks to take business out to the streets

Grafton and Ulmarra to be pilots for council plans to cut red tape

Local Partners