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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7871

Mr GOSLING (Solomon) (16:40): Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial three-week multinational, large-force employment exercise conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. It was conducted from 27 July—it finished on the weekend—to 17 August this year. The exercise hosted up to 4,000 personnel and up to 140 aircraft from around the globe, including participants from Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States, and, for the first time, the Indian Air Force took part in the exercise.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the exercise with the ADF Parliamentary Program, and I want to congratulate exercise director Air Commodore Michael Kitcher for an exemplary exercise and our host on the ADFPP, Wing Commander Jonathan Lilley.

The exercise contributes $30 million to the Territory economy and helps reinforce the strong ties Australia has with participating nations, especially those from the Indo-Pacific. Locals got the chance to get up close and personal with the military personnel and aircraft during the Pitch Black Open Day at the RAAF base and at Mindil Beach markets where there was a sunset flyover of 36 aircraft, which was amazing. Darwin is the gateway to Asia, and this is a great exercise to show how important we are in this part of the world.