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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2875


Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (10:17): This Saturday personnel from the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police and representatives from other agencies will march in every state and territory capital city and in Townsville to mark the completion of Operation Slipper. As the federal member for Brisbane, I have a large number of Defence personnel and their families living in my electorate, which borders on Gallipoli Barracks at Enoggera. Gallipoli Barracks is one of Australia's largest military bases and the headquarters of the 7th Combat Brigade. In 2010, elements of the battalion were deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper—and I want to pay tribute to them here today.

While the majority of the battalion's force was part of the Force Support Unit based in Tarin Kot, Kandahar and Al Minhad Air Base, elements were also deployed in support of the 6 RAR, 1st Mentoring Task Force combined arms battle group that was deployed to Uruzgan province to conduct counter-insurgency operations.

I am very pleased and proud that the national commemoration to take place this Saturday will recognise these incredible achievements and the sacrifice of more than 34,500 Australian personnel who were deployed as part of Operation Slipper, Australia's longest military operation. Very sadly and tragically, Australia lost some of its finest: Australia lost 41 soldiers during Operation Slipper. The commemoration is a time to remember the families of those who lost loved ones—those who are not here with them today. I want to thank the families and the friends of those personnel deployed as part of Operation Slipper. I want to thank them for their ongoing commitment and support to their loved ones. It was absolutely vital to their success.

Operation Slipper encompassed Australia's contribution to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, and the International Coalition Against Terrorism mission across Afghanistan and the Middle East which commenced in October 2001 and concluded in December 2014.

I want to recognise the contribution of more than 6,500 personnel from Queensland who served in the Middle East area of operation during this time. It is also right and proper that we recognise hundreds of Australian Federal Police and other agency representatives who served and supported those on the ground. January the 1st 2015 marked the start of Operation Highroad, Australia's new train, advise and assist mission. I will be taking part in the Brisbane parade, commencing at Russell Street, South Brisbane, on Saturday, the 21st at 11 am, and I encourage all Australians to participate wherever they can.