Today I visited the recently upgraded Guided Missile Frigate HMAS Sydney alongside Fleet Base East in Garden Island, Sydney.
This was my first official engagement with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) since being sworn in as Minister for Defence on Tuesday.
I toured HMAS Sydney and took the opportunity to see first hand one of the Navy’s recently upgraded front line ships.
As I met the current Sydney crew, I was reminded of those who died when HMAS Sydney II was sunk off the coast of my home state of Western Australia during World War Two. Their final resting place off Geraldton is now a poignant reminder of the sacrifice they and others have made for our nation.
I also met with the Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stephen Gilmore AM, CSC, RAN.
We discussed the Navy’s personnel and capabilities deployed in support of Australian Defence Force (ADF) activities around the globe.
A number of RAN ships are on deployment in Asia and HMAS Melbourne recently relieved HMAS Parramattain the Middle East on Operation Slipper.
I was pleased to be informed of the increases in naval personnel, which has led to improvements in Navy’s capability.
The Submarine Sustainability Program has also seen an increase in crew numbers, enabling more of the boats to operate at sea.
I welcomed the opportunity to visit HMAS Sydney and meet Navy personnel.
The RAN is continuing to play a key role in protecting and promoting Australia’s maritime interests on a world stage and will continue to do so into the future.