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Navy helicopter on Christmas Island to boost border protection.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon. Robert Hill Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate


12 Aug 2002 MIN 406/02


Navy helicopter on Christmas Island to boost border protection


A Royal Australian Navy helicopter and crew will be based at Christmas Island to boost Australia’s border protection, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced in Darwin today.

"One Sea King helicopter and 20 crew will be detached from 817 Naval Air Squadron to conduct surveillance of the approaches to Christmas Island," Senator Hill said.

"They will also provide a shore-based response capability for search and rescue."

Senator Hill said the deployment of the Sea King is another facet of the important border protection operations being undertaken by the Australian Defence Force.

A range of Navy vessels including frigates and patrol boats, maritime surveillance aircraft and intelligence capabilities are engaged in the day-to-day monitoring and patrolling of our maritime approaches against encroachment from external threats.

The ADF was given an extra $22.3 million in the last Budget to continue operations to deter unauthorised boat arrivals.

"The Navy’s helicopter squadrons are working at the highest tempo they have seen since the Vietnam conflict," Senator Hill said.

"Their continued hard work and dedication has been successful in deterring unauthorised boat arrivals."

A temporary hangar for the Sea King is currently being erected at the Christmas Island airfield by the RAAF 395 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing to provide facilities for the detachment.

The Squadron is looking forward to continuing Navy’s close ties with the people of Christmas Island, working with the local community and contributing to border protection operations," Senator Hill said.

"In addition, the Christmas Island Administrator has written to me to welcome the detachment on behalf of the local community."





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Minister’s Office: Sascha Meldrum 0409 201 126

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