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Minister Visits Brisbane Troops Prior Deployment

Minister Visits Brisbane Troops Prior Deployment

MEDIA RELEASE

THE HON. JOHN MOORE, MP Minister for Defence Friday, 7th April 2000 MIN072/00

Minister Visits Brisbane Troops Prior to East Timor Deployment

The Minister for Defence, John Moore, today visited Gallipoli Barracks at Enoggera in Brisbane, to meet with members of the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) Battalion Group.

6RAR is scheduled to depart for peacekeeping operations in East Timor from Monday 10th April. They will replace the 5th/7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment which currently is deployed in the western border areas of East Timor and are expected to serve with the United Nations' UNTAET mission until October this year.

"The 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment has a proud history and will continue the exemplary work of Australians serving in East Timor," Mr Moore said.

6RAR is one of two additional Army battalions raised as a result of the Federal Government's decision last year to increase Australian Defence Force readiness. Formerly an integrated Regular/Reserve battalion, it was brought to full Regular status.

"It is important for us all to remember that while the INTERFET mission commanded by Major General Peter Cosgrove has been successfully completed, Australia plays a significant, ongoing role in the East Timor peace process.

"Under the United Nations' UNTAET arrangements, Australia remains the biggest contributor of personnel to the peacekeeping mission."

Australia's support for UNTAET includes two RAN landing craft, 400 logistics support personnel through to the end of June, 17 UN military observers, and four Blackhawk helicopters with crew and support staff.

"More than 9,000 Australians served in East Timor in the first phase of the UN mandate, and while the numbers have dropped to under 2,000 ADF personnel, the ongoing importance of their mission cannot be overstated.

"The situation in East Timor has improved markedly, however there always are inherent risks in this sort of operation. It is difficult and potentially dangerous work and we wish 6RAR well for their mission.

"The Federal Government also extends its thanks to the families of all our personnel who are serving in East Timor. We are grateful for the support and commitment they show our troops and our nation," said Mr Moore.

Phone: 61 (02) 62777800 Fax: 62734118 Media Inquiries: 0419 982482 Email: J.Moore.MP@aph.gov.au Website: www.defence.gov.au


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