There are currently around 2900 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed on 14 operations, both overseas in support of our interests in regional security and a rules-based global order and domestically in support of civil authorities in protecting Australia’s borders.
Australia’s Defence operations will continue to be fully supported with the Budget allocating $1.4 billion across the 2013-14 Budget and Forward Estimates period.
The key measure under this commitment is the support to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO), including in particular Afghanistan, as the process of transition to Afghan security leadership in Uruzgan Province concludes by December 2013.
Afghanistan (Operation SLIPPER)
Australia’s contribution to operations in Afghanistan commenced in December 2001. Since then, Australia’s military contribution in Afghanistan has risen to an annual average strength of around 1550 ADF personnel, with around 800 additional personnel providing support from locations within the broader Middle East Area of Operations.
The process of transition to Afghan security leadership in Uruzgan Province commenced in July 2012 and will conclude by December this year with the closure of Multi-National Base – Tarin Kot.
As part of this process, Australia’s training and mentoring forces in Uruzgan commenced drawdown and began returning to Australia at the end of 2012.
The Government has allocated $1.3 billion to fund operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East over the 2013-14 Budget and Forward Estimates period.
Timor-Leste (Operation ASTUTE)
The Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF), consisting of military personnel from Australia and New Zealand, commenced operations in Timor-Leste in 2006.
The successful conclusion of the Timor-Leste national elections in July 2012 marked a turning point for the ADF’s contribution. The ISF concluded its security mission in November 2012 and was drawn down in parallel with the UN mission in Timor-Leste. The ISF drawdown concluded in March 2013.
Australia retains 24 Defence personnel in Timor-Leste as part of our bilateral Defence Cooperation Program.
The Government has allocated $5.4 million in the 2013-14 Budget for the remediation of equipment returned to Australia following the ADF’s successful contribution to maintenance of peace and stability in East Timor as part of Operation ASTUTE.
Solomon Islands (Operation ANODE)
The Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was established in 2003. In view of the progress made in restoring internal security and stability, and following endorsement by the Government of Solomon Islands in November 2011, RAMSI is currently transitioning into a law enforcement mission comprised almost entirely of police. Accordingly, the ADF component of RAMSI is planned to be withdrawn from mid-2013.
The Government has allocated $11.4 million in support of Defence’s role in Operation ANODE, the RAMSI, over the 2013-14 Budget and Forward Estimates period.
Operation RESOLUTE, the military contribution to whole of Government maritime security activities, will continue. The Government has allocated $9.9 million in support of Operation RESOLUTE.
Support to the 2014 G20 Summit
The Government has also agreed to ADF support for Australia’s hosting of the Group of 20 (G20) in 2014. The Government has allocated $7.1 million in support of the 2014 G20 Summit.
For more information and access to the Portfolio Budget Statement go to http://www.defence.gov.au/budget/13-14/index.htm
Minister Smith’s office: Andrew Porter 0419 474 392 and Sacha Fenton 0467 784 528
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999