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Defence Minister visits Headquarters Northern Command and the Navy in the Top End.



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THE HON JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

www.defence.gov.au

Tuesday, 9 September 2008 118/2008

DEFENCE MINISTER VISITS HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN COMMAND AND THE NAVY IN THE TOP END

The Minister for Defence, the Honourable Joel Fitzgibbon, MP, visited Headquarters Northern Command (HQNORCOM) and the Navy in Darwin today, touring the naval base HMAS Coonawarra and stepping onboard the Armidale Class Patrol Boat (ACPB) HMAS Armidale.

The Minister was met by Commander Northern Command, Air Commodore Ian Meyn and briefed on current operations being conducted by HQNORCOM.

“Today I had the pleasure of meeting with the our servicemen and women responsible for the day to day coordination of assets that patrol an area approximately 10% of the earth’s surface involved in Operation Resolute,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

The Minister also took the opportunity to tour Coonawarra, the Royal Australian Navy’s operational base in Darwin and home port to 10 Armidale Class Patrol Boats and two Balikpapan Class Heavy Landing Craft.

The Commanding Officer of Coonawarra, Commander Ainsley Morthorpe, RAN, showed Mr Fitzgibbon the maintenance facilities available to RAN ships including the hard stand for minor war vessels.

Mr Fitzgibbon also visited Armidale for morning tea with the ship’s company. He spoke to officers and sailors on board to gain an understanding of their working routines and life in a patrol boat - the real “Sea Patrol”.

Captain Vaughn Rixon, RAN, Commander Australian Navy Patrol Boat Group, showed Mr Fitzgibbon through the Rennie-Catton Building which houses Navy’s Port Services Office and the Darwin Patrol Boat Crew Facility.

The Minister expressed his gratitude for the hard work and commitment to vital operations including Operation Resolute, the whole-of-government effort to protect Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664