Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Opinion: Alan Eggleston on NW defence

Senator Alan Eggleston says the defence forces have neglected Australia’s north west for at least a decade.
He said our coast, with its oil, gas and resource developments is far more vulnerable than the east.
You can read his statement here:
Senator Alan Eggleston
Liberal Senator for Western Australia
Chair of Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee
Deputy Chair of Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
Media Contact: Shannen Wilkinson Ph: (08) 9368 6633 Mob: 0422 103 772shannen.wilkinson@aph.gov.au
North West forgotten by ADF for past decade
May 28, 2012
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has not met its responsibility to Western Australia’s North West region and recommendations made in the Force Posture Review White Paper, according to Senator Alan Eggleston.
Under questioning by Senator Eggleston at today’s Senate Defence Committee Estimates, Chief of Defence Force General Hurley conceded that the North West hasn’t been part of their overall strategic thinking with their “attention elsewhere over the last decade”.
“It is reprehensible that the ADF is instead wedded to the North Queensland comfort zone where the vulnerability is minor compared to Western Australia’s coast, with more than $320 billion in minerals and oil and gas invested in the region,” Senator Eggleston said.
“I have been told that American investors in Western Australia’s oil and gas industry have already expressed concern that there is very little military presence or protection for these big investments.
“Current defence operations including patrol boats operating 90 days a year outside the region and P3’s flying over the airspace is not a high enough level of protection for this enormous investment industry.
“General Hurley’s announcement during Estimates for the ADF’s chief of logistics to review the ADF’s understanding of infrastructure and their ability to support operations and to look in 2013-14 at their capacity to conduct major exercises, maritime or land, will hopefully turn this East Coast mentality around.”
Senator Eggleston also welcomed General Hurley’s claim that he would take the ADF chief of staff committee to the North West to conduct a meeting with local industry and government to give them an understanding of the scale of the minerals and resources industry in the North West.
“The ADF needs to stop ‘considering’ how they might increase their presence in the North West and instead begin to implement the necessary infrastructure to make it happen,” Senator Eggleston said.

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