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Red Kangaroo Leaves Its Mark in Iraq

Minister for Defence Media Mail List

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Friday 21 October, 2005

175/2005


Red Kangaroo Leaves Its Mark in Iraq


The Army's Al Muthanna Task Group (AMTG) has given thousands of Iraqi people a further chance to improve their quality of life after completing three vital civil military cooperation projects.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said these three projects have involved connecting thousands of homes to electric power, restoring a bus station and renovating a community centre.

"A total of 14 projects in Al Muthanna Province are being funded by the Howard Government as part of a $2.25 million program," Senator Hill said.

"In addition to its principle role of training Iraqi security forces and providing protection for Japanese reconstruction efforts, the AMTG is also committed to improving the well-being of people in Al Muthanna Province.

"The civil-military cooperation program is managed by a small group within the AMTG to support community based projects in the province.

"All projects are selected in consultation with the Al Muthanna Provincial Council and use local contract labour to provide further employment within the local community.

"Together, these projects provide a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of many thousands of Iraqis by providing them with essential services."

The work of the AMTG has been growing in status in the region, with the familiar red kangaroo stencil clearly marking each project - similar to that displayed on AMTG vehicles. It is being widely recognised as a mark of Australia's positive role in the region.

* In the village of Al Ryawasha, on the outskirts of As Samawah, a $31,000 project funded the repair of electricity feeder lines and upgraded the transformers to provide the villagers with a more stable power supply.

* In Ar Rumaythah, a $37,000 project gives the community a public bus station with refurbished shelters, seats, shops, hard standing, and toilet facilities. The town is a regional transport hub servicing the needs of more than 70,000 people.

* At the Al Salman Community Centre the public have access to IT facilities including ten computers, printers, scanners, and cameras. The $83,500 project provides internet and IT access to help with children's education and local business initiatives.

The successful completion of all these projects was marked with opening ceremonies attended by representatives of the local community, AMTG Commander Lieutenant Colonel Roger Noble, and senior provincial and Iraqi government officials.

Earlier reconstruction projects included establishing a mobile health clinic, water test kits, an ambulance station, and providing media communications equipment.

ENDS

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