Senator Welcomes Darwin Emphasis In Defence Review
The Darwin region features prominently in the preliminary conclusions of the Defence Force Posture Review released today.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Defence Force and Defence Support, Senator Ian Macdonald, welcomed the recommendations that reflect the strategic importance of Australia’s northern frontier.
“I have long supported the expansion of Australia’s defence capability in the North, not just in terms of defence but also in biosecurity, immigration and the protection of the nation’s expanding resources both on land and offshore,” said Sen. Macdonald.
The Review has picked up on this theme by recommending, among other things, expanding the capacity of defence bases in Darwin and Cairns to accommodate offshore combat vessels (OCVs) and light combat helicopters (LCHs).
“I was pleased to note the Review recommended retaining 1 Brigade in Darwin and proceeding with plans to upgrade bases at Tindal, Learmonth (Exmouth), Curtin (Derby) and Scherger near Weipa,” he said.
The expansion of the northern bases will enable unrestricted operations of KC-30 refuelling aircraft and P8 Orions as well as the ability to accommodate the Joint Strike Fighter.
The Review recommends the development of amphibious mounting operations for Darwin that include the construction of roll-on, roll-off loading facilities at East Arm Wharf.
Sen Macdonald said US President Obama’s recent announcement of a shift in America’s defence focus towards Asia and increased joint training exercise would further bolster the need for increased Australian defence facilities in the nation’s north.
“In my capacity both as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Defence Force and Defence Support, and as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern and Remote Australia, it is my respectful view that the Review is on the right track in highlighting the importance of Northern Australia to Australia’s future defence needs.”
“I believe the Review is heading in the right direction and confirms the view I have long held – that it is important to have Australia’s Defence Forces based in the North where they are the most relevant and can be most easily deployed to prospective new humanitarian engagements and where they will play what I believe will be a key role in Australia’s national security in the future.