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Thursday, 18 September 2003
Page: 20599

Mr Bevis asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 12 August 2003:

(1) Do any Australian troops currently use depleted uranium munitions; if so, which groups and in what circumstances

(2) Are depleted uranium munitions used on any Australian military ranges by forces from Australia or any other nation; if so, by which forces and which ranges are they used.

(3) On what occasions have they been used.

(4) What training have Australian troops, and in particular those troops who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, received in procedures for fighting in a theatre of war where depleted uranium munitions are used.

(5) Have all Australian troops involved in (a) the recent Afghanistan conflict and (b) the recent conflict in Iraq been comprehensively tested for effects associated with radioactive material including depleted uranium munitions.

(6) Are depleted uranium munitions to be used at the Lancelin Range in Western Australia by (a) Australian, (b) American, or (c) any other military forces; if so, what munitions are involved and what safety protocols are to be followed.

Mrs Vale (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) No.

(2) No.

(3) Refer to part (2).

(4) Defence conducts depleted uranium awareness training for personnel who are deploying to any area where a risk assessment indicates that potential health risks from Depleted Uranium are likely.

(5) The Government is aware that the United States (US) has deployed numerous military health physicists and radiation protection officers to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. US coalition forces were and are available to perform radiation protection services for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel if required. In view of the wide range of operational, occupational and environmental hazards, ADF personnel deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations are currently offered a post-deployment medical screen as soon as practicable on return to Australia. All tests conducted to date have been within the normal range.

(6) (a), (b) and (c) No.