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New Customs helicopter for the Northern Territory.

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Tuesday 12 August 2008

NEW CUSTOMS HELICOPTER FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY The Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, said Australia's northern borders are now better protected than ever before thanks to the arrival of Customs new rapid response helicopter.

Mr Debus said the Eurocopter EC145, to be based at Gove (Nhulunbuy) in the Northern Territory, would be able to quickly respond to suspected or actual border incidents along the Arnhem coastline and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

"This helicopter has a longer range capability than the interim aircraft that it replaced.

"It will give Customs the ability to fly longer surveillance missions and reach more remote locations if needed.

"The helicopter is the latest addition to the Customs Coastwatch fleet, which helps to protect our northern borders from threats such as illegal foreign fishing, people, drug and weapon smugglers, and quarantine and environmental risks."

The new helicopter is fitted with a range of communication systems, to ensure operational performance in remote areas, and can carry up to six personnel.

The helicopter is contracted from Helicopters (Australia) Pty Ltd until June 2010.

Media Contact: Samantha Wills 0448 721 372