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New equipment for army reconstruction operations.



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Media contacts Sascha Meldrum (Senator Hill) 08 8237 7920 0409 034 241

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Thursday 19 January, 2006 007/2006

NEW EQUIPMENT FOR ARMY RECONSTRUCTION OPERATIONS The Australian Army will soon benefit from a $32.5 million investment in new construction and earth moving equipment to be used on major reconstruction projects in Australia and overseas.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said the new equipment will replace the current fleet of Army bulldozers and graders that was introduced into service in the early 1980’s.

Senator Hill said the new equipment will provide the Army’s Combat Engineer units with a much improved capability that could be used in future overseas reconstruction operations, such as in Afghanistan or in Iraq.

Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd has been selected as the preferred tenderer to supply the equipment and in-service support.

“The new fleet will be made up of 39 medium bulldozers and 40 graders and the first delivery is expected from July this year,” Senator Hill said.

“There is a growing need for Defence reconstruction teams on overseas operations and this new equipment could be deployed as part of future Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

“Bulldozers and graders are essential equipment for construction and maintenance of airfields and roads, provision of disaster relief and construction of field fortifications and defensive positions.

“This type of equipment has been in high demand in recent times in support of operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, providing disaster relief in Banda Aceh following the tsunami and providing valuable assistance through development projects in remote aboriginal communities across Australia.”

Army’s Engineer Units located in Darwin, Townsville, Sydney and Brisbane will all receive the new equipment.

“Australian industry will also benefit by providing through life support and maintenance for the life of the equipment, which is expected to be ten years,” Senator Hill said.

“The acquisition of this new earth moving equipment represents a significant enhancement in the capability of Army’s engineers.”