Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon today announced that Australia and the United States have agreed to progress to a larger six month rotation of around 1,150 US Marines to northern Australia from 2014.
The majority of the Marines will be accommodated at Robertson Barracks, with a smaller aviation support contingent of around 130 personnel at RAAF Darwin, along with four heavy lift helicopters.
Six month rotations of US Marines to northern Australia were announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and United States President Barack Obama on 16 November 2011.
Progressing to this larger six month rotation will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with increased opportunities for combined training and deepening interoperability.
These six month rotations will better position both nations to join with other regional partners to respond in a timely and effective manner to a range of contingencies in the Indo-Pacific, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
These rotations assist Australia’s long-held strategic interests by supporting United States engagement in our region in a manner that promotes peace, stability and prosperity.
The intent over coming years is to establish a six month rotational presence (not before 2016) of an up to 2,500 person Marine Air Ground Task Force, rotating into northern Australia in the six month northern dry season.
The initial rotation of around 200 Marines occurred between April and September 2012. A second six month rotation of around 200 Marines arrived in Darwin on 21 April 2013.
On 30 May, the Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel released the outcomes of the Social and Economic Assessments of the impacts associated with the six month rotations of 1,100 United States Marines in northern Australia proposed to start in 2014.
The assessments found that most impacts resulting from a rotation of 1,100 Marines were expected to be positive or neutral, and that the economic impact would be modest and positive.
The Social and Economic Assessments informed Government consideration about the size, nature and timing of the next increment in possible future rotations.
The Economic Assessment suggests that a rotation of 1,100 Marines is expected to contribute an additional $5.6 million to the Northern Territory Gross State Product in 2011-12 dollars, or $5,090 per Marine.
The Economic Assessment found that the impact on Northern Territory industry would benefit the retail trade, transport, recreational and other business service sectors.
The Economic Assessment noted that assumptions underlying the economic modelling were conservative, and it is likely that there will be additional expenditure into the Australian economy over and above these conservative estimates.
The Economic Assessment is consistent with the Assessment released by Defence in October 2012 on the outcomes of Social and Economic Assessments of the impacts associated with the initial company-sized rotational deployments of 200 to 250 United States Marines to Darwin in 2012 and 2013.
Bradshaw Field Training Exercise August 2013
The Prime Minister, Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel today also announced that around 1000 Marines would undertake a training exercise for 13 days beginning on 15 August this year at the Bradshaw Field Training Area as a follow on to this year's Exercise Talisman Saber.
The 1000 Marines would be drawn from the 200 Marines currently on six month rotation in Darwin and the Marine contingent at Exercise Talisman Saber.
Exercise Talisman Saber is a combined Australian and US training activity designed to train Australian and US forces in planning and conducting Combined Task Force operations.
Exercise Talisman Saber this year will occur at the Shoal Water Bay Training Area and the adjacent maritime areas in the Coral Sea. It will also include activities within the Townsville Field Training Area, RAAF Amberley and Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, during the period 15 July to 5 August. Approximately 20,000 US personnel will attend this years’ Exercise Talisman Saber, either ashore within defined Defence training areas (5000), or at Sea (15,000).
Exercise Talisman Saber is a biennial exercise which has occurred every two years since 2005.
The 2011 Exercise Talisman Saber took place at Shoal Water Bay between 11 and 29 July 2011 and involved approximately 20,000 US personnel.
Bradshaw training area is one of the exercise areas that the rotational Marine presence will utilise. This year's exercise is aimed at developing their knowledge of the facility for future use by the 1150 strong rotation.
14 JUNE 2013
PRESS OFFICE: (02) 6277 7744
MINISTER SMITH’S OFFICE: (02) 6277 7800
MINISTER SNOWDON’S OFFICE: (02) 6277 7820