Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Coalition policy strengthens NT Defence Capability



Download PDFDownload PDF

M E D I A R E L E A S E

ki*

ALEXANDER DOWNER MEMBER FOR MAYO SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE

COALITION POLICY STRENGTHENS NT DEFENCE CAPABILITY

"A Coalition Government will locate Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft at RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.

"The Coalition's Defence Policy, A Strong Australia makes a commitment to fast track the purchase of four AEW&C aircraft", said Shadow Minister for Defence, Alexander Downer.

"There is an urgent requirement for AEW&C aircraft to close the Northern surveillance gaps which were highlighted by the Kangaroo 92 Exercise.

"Tindal is the logical location to base these aircraft because of its close location to the Northern coast and because the AEW&C aircraft will work in close co-operation with Tindal's F/A-18s.

"This decision will result in major capital works projects at Tindal, developing the infrastructure to locate the aircraft and crews and to provide maintenance capabilities", Mr Downer said.

"A Strong Australia will mean a greater defence presence in the Northern Territory over the longer term.

"That means more jobs and an economic boost for the Territory, particularly in the Darwin and Katherine/Tindal area.

"Among the initiatives for the Territory proposed in A Strong Australia are:

* Increasing northern coastal surveillance.

* Placing greater priority on northern oceanographic and hydrographic activities.

* Increasing helicopter mobility by purchasing additional Chinook and troop transport helicopters.

* Developing proposals with the United States to locate a number of US aircraft and naval vessels in Darwin. In addition, developing a proposal for the United States to preposition defence equipment in northern Australia.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600 ; Telephone (06) 277 4145 Facsimile (06) 277 2143 t After Hours Telephone: (08) 339 5152 or (06) 286 1504-pARUAMEN ΓΑκ Ϊ L3RARY l

MiCAH i

Providing increased flying hours for RAAF fighter pilots. This will be of considerable training benefit to pilots based at Tindal.

*

"These measures will provide a realistic and strategically relevant defence presence in the Northern Territory. The Coalition remains committed to the relocation of an appropriately structured brigade to the north.

"The decision not to relocate a tank squadron to Darwin has been based on a strategic assessment of the limited value a tank squadron (14 tanks) would have in the north.

"The Coalition believes that the most cost-effective use of the tanks remains to keep them located close to their centre for training and maintenance at Puckapunyal.

"Tanks will continue to maintain a regular presence in the North through Defence exercises.

"The decision was based on a rigorous assessment of Australia's defence needs, rather than the tub-thumping pork-barrelling of Senator Bob Collins", Mr Downer said.

"In fact, the location of a handful of dated tanks at Darwin would have very little economic flow-on effect for Darwin.

"The decision to locate the AEW&C aircraft at Tindal will more than offset the economic impact of the tank decision."

(ends) 28 October 1992 (56) More Information: Peter Jennings (mobile) 018 847 451