Senator pushes for US Marines for Queensland

In the Senate Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee hearing this morning, North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald pushed for an extension of the Darwin base for US Marines to other northern cities.

When the US Marines were first stationed in Darwin it was said to be a pilot project, Senator Macdonald said.

It would seem that with Australias second-largest east coast navy base in Cairns and the largest army baseand a significant air force base in Townsville, that both these cities should be actively considered to host US Marines.

Both communities have a long history of welcoming US military personnel, dating back to WWII and both cities would consider such an opportunity a privilege.

Senator Macdonald said he was very supportive of the Darwin base and hoped that consideration would be given to extending it to other States.

In response, Mr Brendan Sargeant, Acting Secretary of the Department of Defence said that while the Darwin involvement was a long term commitment there were no plans at this time to base US Marines in other centres, although he expected that the Marines would take part in exercises in other States.

I hope that serious consideration will be given to extending this involvement, Senator Macdonald said.

The Minister is currently in the United States, and I would hope that he is discussing this matter with his counterparts now.

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