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Tuesday, 3 March 1970

Mr PEACOCK (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) - I recall that there were detailed questions relating in particular to the barrier mine field in South Vietnam which were answered in detail in August last year. The honourable gentleman is now referring to the regrettable losses which have been sustained over the last 10 to 14 days. The details of training were given to the honourable member. I am satisfied with the training which is given and the equipment that is used by the Australian Army for mine detection. These losses were sustained in the Long Hai hills area which, as the honourable member will know, is above the plains of the lower part of South Vietnam. It is essential for the security of the region that Australian troops enter this region to ensure the security of the local inhabitants. The incidents were regrettable. I am satisfied that the techniques used were correct. I am satisfied that the troops approached their task with the proper degree of security and attention that was required of them. 1 am not belittling the losses that were sustained over this period but I am endeavouring to put my mind to the question that the honourable member has posed and therefore my short answer is: Yes, I am satisfied with the training. If the honourable member wants any further information in relation to actual techniques I will be happy to supply it to him.

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