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Monday, 4 September 2006
Page: 33


Senator MINCHIN (Leader of the Government in the Senate) (3:01 PM) —On 17 August I took a question on notice from Senator Bishop about defence. I now seek leave to incorporate an answer to his question into Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

Senator Bishop asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, without notice, on 17 August 2006:

(1)   Does the Minister recall the statement by the Prime Minister on 19th December 2002 that Australia would acquire a troop lift helicopter and following the Bali bombing that this acquisition would be fast-tracked?

(2)   Can he confirm Defence advice that the helicopters will now not be delivered until 2009?

(3)   Has the government failed to deliver something that was considered essential?

Senator Minchin—The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to The honourable senator’s questions (1-3):

The first of the new Multi Role Helicopters (MRH 90) acquired under AIR 9000 Phase 2 will be delivered in December 2007 and then progressively over the project acquisition cycle. As announced in June 2006, the Government has approved a further 34 MRH helicopters to replace the existing Sea Kings operated by the Navy and the Army’s Black Hawk helicopter fleets. The MRH 90’s will provide a common platform in helicopters for the amphibious role for both the Navy and the Army, resulting in significant additional efficiencies.