Defence activities in northeast Arnhem Land


I understand your department has been part of conversations in relation to development of Defence activities in . Could you advise what Defence activities are being considered for the region and how these activities will benefit the people of the region?

Madam Speaker, we have an excellent relationship with our Defence community in the . We have a couple of training bases and they are considered world-best. You can essentially do anything on
these training bases. That is why the Marines, for example, are so keen to do their rotations and training here. That is why we saw more than 16 countries involved in .

Up to 26 Navies were involved in Exercise , including China for the first time. With Exercise Pitch Black we had India come over for the first time. We have significant interest in Defence in the Northern Territory.

We have a $20bn investment happening through Australian Defence. There is the $1bn Defence investment from the US to the Territory as part of their Force Posture Initiative. There is the decision by the Australian Navy to base six of its new OPVs in Darwin, and they will be called the Arafura class, which is fantastic.

We have put on board a Defence advocate for the first time—retired Air Vice Marshall Marg Staib. She is a fantastic person to be the link between us, the Australian Government, the Australian Defence Force and the US Defence forces, and others. We also have a Defence advisory panel which helps—including a retired Air Vice Marshall from Indonesia to make sure we keep thinking strategically through the region. We are the only panel that has done this.

There is a lot that we are pulling together. ELA and the space base in may be of interest for testing purposes. That is not the primary goal at the moment. We saw a recently in Queensland to test what we will do at the space base. That is of potential interest. I am happy to talk with Defence advocate Marg Staib about what else may be happening across the Northern Territory and how it impacts Arnhem Land, and will make sure the member is briefed about those activities.

I am happy to work with the member on that. There is a lot happening in the Defence space that is very exciting. I believe Darwin and the Northern Territory can be a symbol to the world on how modern foreign policy works through trade. Our relationship with Japan is an important emblem of that, as well as how modern nations cooperate through training and working together. Exercises KAKADU, Pitch Black and Talisman Sabre are also examples of that.

We had the capacity to take a leadership role in the region, so there is a lot happening in the Defence and military space. I can talk to the Defence advocate, Member for Nhulunbuy, and have you briefed on anything Defence is thinking about. We can make those inquiries and make sure you are part of that information loo


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