I left Australia late last night to visit London and Brussels this week.
In London I will meet with Mr John Coles, the independent expert from BMT Defence Services who is leading the review into the maintenance and sustainment of the Australian Collins Class submarines.
This meeting will give me the opportunity to receive an update from Mr Coles about progress being made on the review.
Just as the Rizzo Report, released on July 18, provides a plan to improve the repair and management of the Navy’s amphibious fleet, Mr Coles will provide a plan to improve the repair and management of our submarine fleet.
While in London I will also meet with representatives of BAE Systems to discuss progress on major projects, in particular the Air Warfare Destroyer and Landing Helicopter Dock projects.
Recognising that cyberspace is an increasingly important medium in ensuring economic well-being and national security, I will also meet with UK counterparts in London to discuss the challenges of cyberspace and our mutual interests in cyberspace.
Following my visit to London, I will travel to Brussels to join my North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Defence Ministerial colleagues for the NATO/ ISAF Defence Ministers’ Meeting on Afghanistan.
Defence Ministers will consider progress in Afghanistan, particularly in the context of the northern summer fighting season and the commencement of transition to Afghan-ledsecurity by 2014.
Australia is committed to mentoring and training the Afghan National Security Forces in Uruzgan Province to enable them to take on responsibility for security arrangements in the Province by 2014.
Defence Ministers will also take the opportunity to discuss NATO/ISAF’s post-2014 commitment to Afghanistan.
I will also take the opportunity to meet bilaterally with a range of my Defence Minister colleagues.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392