Assistant Minister for Defence - Visit to NORFORCE in Alice Springs

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The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

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15 July 2015

Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert, today met with officers and soldiers from the North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE) in Alice Springs.

Mr Robert visited the NORFORCE Centre Squadron base and was briefed on the training and operations carried out by the unit.

As part of the briefing, soldiers demonstrated some of the high-tech surveillance equipment used by the Squadron’s patrols, which deploy to some of the remotest parts of Australia.

“NORFORCE is responsible for an area of around 1.8 million square kilometres – that’s roughly twice the size of France and Germany combined. Their area of operations encompasses the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia and is the largest of any Battalion sized military unit in the world,” Mr Robert said.

NORFORCE was formed in 1981 and is one of three Regional Force Surveillance Units (RFSUs) employed in surveillance and reconnaissance of the remote areas of northern Australia.

Australian Indigenous soldiers form approximately 40 per cent of NORFORCE personnel and are predominantly drawn from the areas where they patrol, maximising their superior local knowledge. 

“These soldiers, with a combination of their deep knowledge of the region, together with excellent equipment and training carry out vital work in Australia’s north,” Mr Robert said.

“They can operate without resupply for weeks at a time and play an important part in protecting our borders.”

Today, the headquarters of NORFORCE is based at Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin with elements maintaining a permanent presence in Arnhem Land, Central Australia and the Kimberley.

Media contacts:

Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s office): 0477 391 174

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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