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Defence, Border Protection And The Budget

May 20, 2002

The extent to which last week's federal budget is a 'khaki' budget is highlighted by a spate of media releases from the Defence Department and its minister, Senator Robert Hill. The economic boost to the defence industries and the States is emphasised. This is a selection:


Defence Funding Increases To $14.3 Billion

The Howard Government has delivered on its commitment to strengthen Australia's defences, fight the war against terrorism and protect our borders with an increased Defence Budget.

Defence will get $393 million in the 2002-03 Budget for operations in Afghanistan, border protection and other measures including those listed below.

The 2002-03 Budget maintains the Government's White Paper commitment of an average annual real growth of 3 per cent for the Defence Budget over the next 10 years.

White Paper funding of $1,039 million announced in the 2001-02 Budget for the coming year will be maintained with $150 million rephased from 2002-03 to 2003-04. Overall, total funding for Defence will increase to $14.3 billion, excluding the capital use charge of $5.056 billion.

The cost of Defence's current operations is significant. They are being funded through the increased Budget allocations and significant internal offsets.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said today the Budget allocation would:

  • Continue Australia's contribution to the international coalition against terrorism with an extra $194 million in 2002-03. This money is in addition to the $330 million provided in the 2001-02 Additional Estimates to support the Operation Slipper deployments of Special Forces soldiers to Afghanistan, a Royal Australian Navy Task Group to the Multinational Interception Force in the Persian Gulf and two Royal Australian Air Force 707 air-to-air refuellers to Manas in Kyrgyzstan.

  • Allow the ADF to continue operations to deter unauthorised boat arrivals and strengthen Australia's borders with an extra $22.3 million in 2002-03. This is in addition to $18.7 million that was provided in the 2001-02 Additional Estimates for this initiative.

  • Strengthen Australia's domestic security arrangements through an effective doubling of our defence tactical assault and incident response capabilities. An extra $219.4 million over four years has been provided to establish on the east coast a second Tactical Assault Group capable of countering maritime and land terrorist activities. An extra $121 million over four years will allow us to have a permanent Incident Response Regiment to respond to a potential chemical, biological or radiological attack.

  • Continue to implement the White Paper recommendations that provide long-term direction and support to the ADF, with spending of about $350 million on new major capital equipment projects in 2002-03. This is in addition to the $3,239 million expected to be spent on ongoing capital projects in 2002-03.

  • Improve day-to-day protection for Defence's personnel and assets. More than $41 million extra will be spent in 2002-03 on heightened security arrangements across all Defence establishments.

"Australia's defence is a major priority for the Howard Government," Senator Hill said.

"The international security outlook has fundamentally changed since the September 11 attacks in the United States. We live in uncertain times that require us to plan for the worst so that we can be well prepared to protect our community. As a committed member of the international coalition against terrorism, we need to continue to ensure that Australia's defence force remains combat focussed, well equipped, mobile and operationally ready.

"The 2002-03 Budget recognises the Australian Defence Force as an integral part of the security not only of our nation, but also of the international community in which we live."


Border Protection Funding Boosted

The Howard Government's commitment to secure Australia's borders has delivered a 2002-03 Budget boost of $199.6 million over four years to ensure greater surveillance of our borders and an increased ability to control the illegal movement of people and goods.

The Budget includes:

  • An extra $175.8 million over four years to Customs for more Coastwatch flights, communications, x-ray equipment; crews and evaluation of new technology options;

  • An extra $22.3 million in 2002-03 for the Australian Defence Force to continue operations at our northern borders to deter unauthorised boat arrivals. This is in addition to $18.7 million that was provided in 2001-02 for this initiative; and

  • $1.5 million to the Australian Federal Police for five boats for the Indonesian National Police to assist their efforts in preventing people smuggling.

Justice and Customs Minister Senator Chris Ellison said the comprehensive Budget measures would provide the men and women guarding our borders with state of the art equipment, training and more resources. Senator Ellison said the 2002-03 Budget had delivered on the Howard Government's election commitments contained in its Protecting Our Borders policy.

"The measures will improve Australia's capacity to detect prohibited goods, including illicit drugs, and will enhance our detection of unauthorised arrivals, drug smugglers, illegal fishing and a range of other border threats," Senator Ellison said.

"Customs will provide more civil maritime surveillance than ever before, with Coastwatch's flying hours increased by 1600 per annum. This allows Coastwatch to maintain its intensive program in the north and north-west, while still effectively managing other areas of Australia's coastline. More container and pallet x-ray equipment will allow better detection of prohibited goods that could be illegally transported by shipping consignments."

Defence Minister Senator Hill said the protection of Australia's borders was one of the Australian Defence Force's most significant responsibilities.

"Defence patrol boats, maritime surveillance aircraft and intelligence capabilities are fully engaged in the day to day monitoring and patrolling our maritime approaches against encroachment from external threats," Senator Hill said.

"These are tasks that our servicemen and women are trained, well-equipped and committed to do. Our current border protection operations have been successful in deterring unauthorised boat arrivals since September 2001, intercepting more than 12 vessels in the first four months. The extra money in the Budget will be used to continue high levels of coastal surveillance of Australia's northern approaches."

The 2002-03 Budget also includes funding to allow Defence and Customs to trial the high frequency surface wave radar that provides over-the-horizon border surveillance. The radar can detect surface vessels and low-flying aircraft beyond the visible horizon, unlike conventional radars, which are limited in operation to line-of-sight. The technology will allow 24-hour wide area coastal surveillance, protection of fisheries resources, protection of offshore oil and gas assets, smuggling deterrence, illegal entry deterrence and it will facilitate search and rescue and early storm warning.

For a full list of measures in relation to both protecting Australia's borders and upgrading domestic security, please refer to Budget Paper Number 2, 2002-03.


Increased Funding For War Against Terrorism

The Howard Government has committed $524 million to support Australia's involvement in the international coalition against terrorism.

An extra $194 million has been allocated in the 2002-03 Budget for the Operation Slipper deployments of personnel, naval, land and air assets to the war against terrorism. This is on top of the extra $330 million provided in the 2001-02 Additional Estimates in February and brings the total allocation to $524 million.

"Australia committed to the global fight against terrorism knowing that its aims could not be achieved overnight," Defence Minister Senator Hill said.

"We shall stand with the international coalition for as long as it takes to ensure a safer world where terrorism is not permitted to flourish. It will not be easy to call victory but we are in for the long haul."

Operation Slipper involves about 1100 personnel and currently includes:

  • A new rotation of Special Forces Task Group personnel in Afghanistan.

  • Two Royal Australian Air Force 707 air-to-air refuellers in Manas in Kyrgyzstan supporting United States and French aircraft.

  • Two Royal Australian Navy frigates - HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Canberra - and one amphibious landing ship - the HMAS Manoora - in the Persian Gulf contributing to the multinational Interception force and potentially supporting the war in Afghanistan. The Manoora is due to return from duties next month for maintenance.

  • RAAF F/A-18 fighter aircraft providing air defence from Diego Garcia. These aircraft are due to return to Australia by the end of this month.

"The war against terrorism is costly," Senator Hill said.

"It is impossible to have forces on the ground, ships in active service and aircraft operational in the region without incurring significant outlays. The additional funding in the 2002-03 Budget - combined with offsets achieved by re-prioritising and rescheduling activities largely unconnected directly to operations - will go to new operations and to the associated increased costs of personnel training and maintenance of equipment."


Counter-Terrorism Capabilities Doubled

Australia's counter-terrorist capabilities will be effectively doubled with the establishment of a second Tactical Assault Group (TAG) and a permanent Incident Response Regiment (IRR) within the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The TAGs are highly-trained special forces units that are capable of countering terrorist activities in the maritime and land environments. The IRR will be capable of responding to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive (CBRNE) incident.

"The 2002-03 Budget includes $219.4 million over four years for a second TAG to be based on the east coast at Holsworthy, complementing the existing group located in Western Australia," Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said.

"They are trained to undertake service-assisted or protected evacuation, entry from the air and sea, maritime point of entry and combat search and rescue. They conduct offensive and recovery operations beyond the range and scope of other Australian Defence Force units.

"These are the people on whom we would rely to resolve, for example, a hostage situation that cannot be managed by State or Territory police."

A full-strength, permanent TAG will be drawn immediately from the existing Special Forces element of the ADF. The extra funding will be provided to recruit and train personnel to replace those Special Forces soldiers who are transferred into the new TAG, and to purchase essential equipment, including communications, weaponry, mobility and electro-optical gear.

The Budget also includes $121 million over the next four years to make permanent the ADF's capability to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive incidents through the IRR.

"The aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States has reinforced the increasing threat and danger of attacks involving chemical, biological or radiological weapons," Senator Hill said.

"While there is a low risk of such an attack in Australia, the potentially grave consequences of a CBRNE attack mean we must plan for any contingency.

"We developed significant capabilities to respond to any potential incident during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and built on those immediately after September 11 in support of the CHOGM.

"We have now decided to establish a permanent IRR that will be able to respond to CBRNE incidents, dispose of explosive ordinance, conduct high risk searches and be supplemented by Defence Science and Technology Organisation research."

The Howard Government also has allocated extra money to the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of Health and Ageing to ensure that Australia has coordinated plans in place to respond to a CBRNE incident.

Senator Hill said the enhanced counter-terrorism capabilities honoured the Howard Government's election promise to ensure an ADF ready to deploy at short notice and able to present the Government with a wider range of options to defend Australia and its national interests.


Major New Capital Projects To Benefit Defence Industry

Australian industry will benefit from planned Defence spending of $350 million on new major capital projects and new phases of existing projects in 2002-03.

This is in addition to the planned expenditure of $3,239m in 2002-03 for ongoing capital projects. Funding also is provided for project development and Capability and Technology demonstrators.

Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said the total value of the acquisition and support projects that are planned to start in 2002-03 was about $6.4 billion.

"The White Paper provided us with a blueprint for ensuring a stronger, more capable Defence force," Senator Hill said.

"The Defence Capability Plan ties our long-term funding commitments to investments that will ensure we have the capability to protect Australia now and in the future.

"However, Defence's capability is inextricably combined with industry's capacity to develop and manufacture new equipment and to maintain and repair existing assets.

"The major capital equipment spending in 2002-03 will significantly enhance Navy, Army, Air Force, and intelligence capabilities while also delivering on our election commitment to adopt a more strategic industry policy approach."

The major new projects to commence in 2002-03, subject to final approval, include:

  • Air to Air Refuelling - Phase 1: The acquisition of up to five aircraft capable of air-to-air refuelling of ADF fighter, strike and surveillance aircraft. Air-to-air refuelling will extend the range and endurance of the receiver aircraft.

  • Direct Fire Weapon - Phase 1: The acquisition of a new shoulder-launched guided weapon for key elements of the Army. This project will equip the Army's full-time infantry battalions and cavalry regiments as well as those units that provide rotation and reinforcements for the high readiness units.

  • Additional Trooplift Helicopters - Phase 6: The acquisition of an additional squadron (about 12 aircraft) of troop-lift helicopters to provide extra mobility for forces on operations. In particular, these helicopters will enhance Defence's capability to operate off Defence's newly acquired troop ships, HMAS Manoora and Kanimbla. The helicopters will be 'marinised' to withstand the fatigue and corrosion problems associated with sustained embarked operations aboard these ships.

  • Battlespace Communications System (Land) - Phase 1: The aim of this project is to provide a modern deployable communications infrastructure that will better support ADF Land operations. It will introduce new technology to establish networked communications in the field. Networked communication uses a combination of digital radios linked with computers. This network will allow greater exploitation of existing information technology capabilities and act as a platform for the introduction of new capabilities.

  • Electronic Warfare Self Protection (EWSP) for Tactical Aircraft - Phase 2: This project will provide electronic warfare self-protection against surface to air missiles for Defence's C-130 transport aircraft and Chinook, Blackhawk and Sea King helicopters.

  • AIR 6000 New Aerospace Combat Capability - Stage 3: This stage of the project will examine options for the ADF's future aerospace combat and strike capabilities which will replace the F111 and F/A-18 fleets.

  • FFG Standard Missile (SM1) Missile Replacement - Phase 4B: The FFGs are currently fitted with the SM-1 missile. This project will replace the old SM-1 missiles with the more capable SM-2 missile.

  • ANZAC Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) - Phase 2: This project will improve the anti-ship missile defence capabilities of the RAN ANZAC ships through upgrades to ship combat systems and sensors.

  • SEA 4000 Study - Air Warfare Destroyers Study - Phase 1: SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyers studies will examine the details of the ADF's future maritime air warfare capability requirements and the options that are available to meet them. This will include analysis of issues such as acquisition strategies, capability options, emergent technologies, environmental issues, logistic cost reduction, crewing issues and interoperability with other platforms and allies. Risk reduction work also will be undertaken in the areas of combat system integration, platform propulsion and sensor systems in relation to proposed platforms. In addition, Defence plans to proceed with the replacement patrol boats project and the project to upgrade the M113 armoured personnel carriers as previously announced.


Combating Chemical Biological, Radiological, Nuclear And Explosive Threats

Australia's capacity to respond to national security threats in any guise will be enhanced with an injection of $150.2 million over four years to address chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) incidents.

This spending covers the Defence, Health, and Attorney-General's portfolios to ensure that Australia is able to deal with all aspects of a CBRNE incident - from detection and defence against attack, to treatment of those affected and removal of the threat.

Defence has been allocated $121 million over the next four years to make permanent its capability to respond to CBRNE incidents through the Incident Response Regiment (IRR).

And Health will receive $11.4 million to acquire and stockpile a range of medications, antidotes and vaccines to ensure a rapid and effective response to any acts of bio-terrorism.

In the Attorney-General's portfolio, Emergency Management Australia (EMA) will receive $17.8 million to provide specialised equipment and training for the agencies and emergency workers who are first to respond to CBRNE incidents.

This additional spending across three portfolio is part of the Government's broader commitment to ensure that Australia has all the tools its requires to combat terrorism and other threats to national security, the three portfolio ministers said.


Increased Security At Defence Establishments

Day-to-day protection for Defence personnel and facilities will be improved with the allocation of more than $41 million extra for security measures in 2002-03.

This funding is in addition to the $27 million provided to increase Defence security at 2001-02 Additional Estimates.

Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said all Defence establishments had been on a heightened security status since September 11.

"The extra money will be used to upgrade security measures to ensure the physical safety of Defence personnel and the security of Defence facilities and equipment," Senator Hill said.

The extra money will be used to increase guard services and fortify infrastructure to protect important Defence establishments. Works will include fencing, installation of closed circuit television monitoring systems and security alarm systems. The Defence Security Authority, established in mid-2001, will oversee other protective security measures, including faster staff security vetting and better industrial security programs.


Defence Personnel Gain From Budget

Defence personnel and their families will receive ongoing support through the allocation of more than $100 million for initiatives in the Howard Government's seventh Budget, Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Danna Vale announced today.

"The Federal Government recognises that Defence's greatest asset is its people - we need the right people and the right equipment for an effective Australian Defence Force," Mrs Vale said.

"The Coalition's Defence White Paper identified the challenge - attracting, recruiting and retaining the right people with the right skills.

"Tonight's Budget delivers on the Howard Government's commitment to meeting that challenge, through initiatives to improve Defence accommodation, family support programs and health."

This funding continues the Government's White Paper commitment to allocate $100 million per year for high priority personnel initiatives totalling $500 million over 5 years.

Initiatives for 2002-03 include:

  • $68 million to improve accommodation options for single members and upgrade existing Defence housing;

  • $14 million for a range of health initiatives including; new Mental Health and Injury Prevention strategies and a new ADF Alcohol Management Program;

  • $7.5 million for new programs to assist ADF members to balance work and family responsibilities including:

    • An expanded Defence Child Care Program offering flexible and more readily available child care arrangements, and new or upgraded facilities in Darwin, Williamtown, East Sale and Holsworthy.

    • Establishing a network of Defence School Transition Aides to address the impact of mobility on Defence children.

    • Increasing employment opportunities for partners and families of ADF members.

    • The launch of a national program to assist new ADF members and their families to make a successful and easy transition to a life in the military

    • Additional funding for the Family Support Funding Program to support local Defence community-based groups which help families better manage the effects and challenges facing ADF families.

    • Implementation of the recently certified Defence Employees Certified Agreement, which includes more flexible work and leave arrangements, more opportunities for learning and development and better outcomes for Defence personnel and development of a new enterprise productivity arrangement for ADF pay and conditions; and

    • Continued support for Defence's award-winning Equity and Diversity Program.

"Being in the Australian Defence Force is more than just a job. These initiatives recognise the unique nature of service life and its impact, not just on service personnel, but also their families," Minister Vale said.


Western Australia To Benefit From Defence Spending

The 2002-03 Defence Budget will bring significant benefits to Western Australia, with further progress on $24 million for WA Defence facilities projects, the Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said tonight.

There will be $13 million spent in 2002-03.

New work will begin at HMAS Stirling and Swanbourne.

Some 6,348 members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Department of Defence personnel are based in Western Australia.


South Australia To Benefit From Defence Spending

The 2002-03 Defence Budget will bring significant benefits to South Australia, with further progress on $69 million worth of work for South Australian Defence facilities projects, the Defence Minister Robert Hill said tonight.

There will be $44 million spent in 2002-03.

The biggest South Australian project being funded is stage one of the RAAF Edinburgh Redevelopment at Salisbury. This will provide new administrative, workshop and warehousing facilities, an upgrade of engineering services and an aircraft shelter. Construction should start in mid-2002 with completion by mid-2003.

Another project foreshadowed for approval in 2002-03 is the RAAF Edinburgh Electronic Warfare Squadron Building Upgrade.

Some 5,948 members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Department of Defence personnel are based in South Australia.


Queensland To Benefit From Defence Spending

The 2002-03 Defence Budget will bring significant benefits to Queensland, with further progress on $660 million worth of work for Queensland Defence facilities projects, Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said tonight.

There will be $143 million spent in 2002-03.

Major Queensland projects to be progressed in 2002-03 include:

  • Canungra - Defence Intelligence Training Centre, which will provide new working accommodation for the headquarters, administration, instruction and course development elements replacing inadequate facilities. The centre will provide specialised instructional areas and office accommodation for command, management, support and instructional staff together with associated amenities in a secure environment. The project is due for completion in late 2003.

  • Oakey Base Redevelopment - Oakey, which will redevelop Oakey Base to optimise it for support of Army rotary wing flying training, including the future Air 87 armed reconnaissance helicopter and basic helicopter training which has relocated from Fairbairn in the Australian Capital Territory. The project will rationalise, upgrade and expand facilities for rotary wing training and training support. Other elements include an emergency response station, workshops, hot refuel facility, trainees living-in accommodation and a civil terminal. The construction is to be completed by mid-2004.

  • Lavarack Barracks Redevelopment Stage 3 - Townsville, which will undertake the next stage of the redevelopment of Lavarack Barracks to upgrade or to provide new working accommodation for existing units and to provide for the future relocation of Headquarters 11 Brigade and supporting units from Jezzine Barracks. Construction has started with completion planned for 2005.

  • RAAF Townsville Redevelopment Stage 1 - Townsville, project will provide new facilities, including loading aprons and aircraft and vehicle support infrastructure, to support the operational role of RAAF Townsville. The redevelopment of the base will be carried out in three or more stages, with Stage 1 due for completion by August 2002. An indigenous land-use agreement with local indigenous groups has been negotiated to permit construction of operational facilities. A consolidated vehicle maintenance workshop already has been completed.

  • RAAF Redevelopment Stage 2 - Townsville, which will enhance the overall effectiveness of RAAF Townsville by grouping related base functions, providing facilities to contemporary standards and alleviating occupational health and safety problems stemming from cramped and temporary accommodation. The work comprises air movement facilities, transit accommodation, combined messing facilities, a dangerous goods compound, main base entrance, physical fitness complex, base training and support complex, combined headquarters complex and engineering services and demolition. Construction is planned to be completed in 2004. Some 18,661 members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Department of Defence personnel are based in Queensland.


Northern Territory To Benefit From Defence Spending

The 2002-03 Defence Budget will bring significant benefits to the Northern Territory, with further progress on $552 million worth of work for Territory Defence facilities projects, Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said tonight.

Major projects for the Northern Territory to be progressed during 2002-03 include:

  • Bradshaw Field Training Area Infrastructure - Darwin, which will provide the necessary infrastructure to allow the use of the Bradshaw property as a field training area for the 1st Brigade. In-principle agreement has been reached on an indigenous land-use agreement. A contract for the construction of the bridge over the Victoria River was awarded in November 2001 and construction is expected to be completed by June 2002. Contracts for the remainder of the works will not be let until the indigenous land-use agreement has been signed and registered. Project completion is currently planned for December 2003.

  • 1st Aviation Regiment Facilities- Darwin, which will provide new facilities for the 1st Aviation Regiment at Robertson Barracks in Darwin and includes permanent purpose built working, training and domestic accommodation facilities as part of their relocation and collocation in Darwin.

Some 6,100 members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Department of Defence personnel are based in the Northern Territory.


ACT And Region To Benefit From Defence Spending

The 2002-03 Defence Budget will bring significant benefits to the Australian Capital Territory and its regions, with further progress on $23 million of work on ACT Defence facilities projects, the Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said tonight.

There will be $18 million spent in the ACT in 2002-03.

A major Canberra project will be the Defence Network Operations Centre at HMAS Harman, near Queanbeyan. The project will provide basic facilities at HMAS Harman to allow later installation of a range of communications facilities. The project is due to be completed by late 2003.

Some 11,926 members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Department of Defence personnel are based in the ACT.

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