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Minister for Defence statement.

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SENATOR JOHN FAULKNER Minister for Defence

Saturday 14 August 2010 082/10

Minister for Defence statement

Australia’s forces have lost another soldier in Afghanistan, Trooper Jason Brown.

Our thoughts today are with Jason’s family as they struggle to come to terms with this terrible news.

We cannot ease their grief anymore than we can repay his sacrifice. They have the sympathy of the whole Australian community at this terrible time.

The Australian Defence Force will provide help and support to the family.

On behalf of the Government, I offer my deepest condolences to those who are personally touched by this terrible loss.

Our thoughts today are also with those who served with Jason and who still serve in Afghanistan.

Recent months have been a time of increasing danger for our troops there.

Trooper Brown together with his mates, were striking at the heart of the Taliban insurgency, as part of our mission in Afghanistan to make sure that extremists and international terrorist groups do not again find safe havens and training grounds in Afghanistan.

This is a critical time for the international coalition in Afghanistan, and for the Afghan people. The work of pushing back the Taliban is difficult, it’s costly and is absolutely necessary if we are to achieve our goals in Afghanistan.

The difficult work that our soldiers do is very dangerous.

18 Australian soldiers have now tragically been killed in action in Afghanistan. 145 Australians have been wounded in action in Afghanistan.

Our Defence personnel continue to carry out their work with courage and professionalism in conditions of real hardship and in conditions of very real danger.

The family, friends and loved ones of Trooper Jason Brown can be very proud of him.

They have today all our sympathy on what is a terrible day for them. He and his family will always have the nation’s gratitude.

Media contact: Michael Nguyen (John Faulkner) 02 6277 7800 or 0429 571 843