The Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne unveiled the Defence White Paper today confirming that Defence’s ability to contribute to border protection will be enhanced with the introduction of more capable offshore patrol vessels, new manned and unmanned aircraft and a new large-hulled multi-purpose patrol vessel, the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Protector.
“The protection of our maritime borders is a shared responsibility and this White Paper outlines how enhancing Defence’s capability into the future will contribute to Government-wide efforts to ensure the security of our borders for decades to come,” Senator Payne said.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton welcomed the release of the Defence White Paper which sets out Defence’s contribution to continued maritime security beyond 2020.
“The significant capabilities outlined in the White Paper will further strengthen Australia’s border security and maritime resource protection,” Mr Dutton said.
“New P-8A Poseidon aircraft and the medium altitude unmanned aerial systems will expand maritime visibility more than ever before. A new fleet of bigger modern vessels will let us operate at greater distances and for longer,” Senator Payne said.
“The new vessels will be capable of undertaking several different roles including enhanced border protection and patrol missions over greater distances than is currently possible with the existing patrol boat fleet.”
Mr Dutton said the Australian Government remained resolute in its commitment to protecting Australia’s maritime borders and tackling maritime threats such as people smuggling.
“Through the successful implementation of Operation Sovereign Borders, we have broken the people smuggling networks, saved lives at sea and demonstrated our ability to counteract maritime threats, especially those posed by criminal syndicates,” Mr Dutton said.
The Australian Defence Force, in partnership with the Australian Border Force (ABF), operate the largest and most capable maritime surveillance and response fleet in Australia’s history.
This includes the new Cape Class fleet of patrol boats – which provide superior range, speed, endurance, passenger carrying capacity, and state-of-the-art communications – the trusted Bay Class vessels and additional large vessels, together with an extensive range of aerial surveillance assets.
“Whilst our maritime capability is the strongest it has ever been, Defence, together with the ABF, will ensure it remains capable of protecting our borders into the future,” Mr Dutton said.
“We look forward to working together to ensure the integrity of Australia’s maritime borders is maintained into the future.”