Official opening of the inaugural Navy Life Expo

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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7 November 2023

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today, the Gadigal people of Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

As the Assistant Minister for Defence, I also pay my respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served our nation in the past and continue to do so today.

Thank you for the welcome Rear Admiral Earley.

It’s a pleasure to join you today for the inaugural Navy Life Expo.

It’s a brand new way for young people to see, experience and even try their hand at the exciting careers that Navy has to offer.

They can virtually tour a submarine, actually tour Navy’s largest ship – HMAS Adelaide and fly a Navy helicopter in a state-of-the-art flight simulator.

So they can see for themselves all the amazing jobs you can do as you safeguard our oceans, defend our borders and protect our national interests.

One of the exciting careers on show here today is Submariner.

The young Australians who join our submarine force will eventually crew a conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarine, one of the most technologically advanced machines on the planet.

The acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines represents, arguably, the single biggest leap in Australia’s Defence capability, in our history.

This will be vital to protecting Australia’s security interests – but we know that we need the people, the personnel, to make it happen.

Not just submariners, but Aviation Technicians, Cyber Specialists, Combat Systems Operators, Marine Technicians and Electronics Technicians.

Cooks and medics, pilots and engineers.

Our Navy needs people to deliver humanitarian and disaster relief.

It needs people to live a story worth telling.

This Expo isn’t your parents’ approach to recruitment.

For the first time, Navy is hosting an E-Sports Tournament.

Gaming is one way our sailors unwind in their free time at sea and ashore.

It is just like playing in your lounge room at home – only at sea you have shipmates to team up with.

And while gaming is a popular pastime for off-duty crew, it also builds the skills used in a modern Navy - team communication, console skills, hand eye coordination and working together to get the job done.

500 students from 31 high schools will participate in the Navy Life Experience over the next two days.

They’ll come here from across Sydney, and from regional areas including the Central Coast, Nowra, Wollongong and Newcastle.

And we’ll welcome Indigenous students from the Clontarf Academy, as well as groups from Navy Cadets.

This morning students from Penola Catholic College, Pittwater High School, Clontarf Academy, Glenmore Park High School, International Grammar School, MLC, Central Coast Grammar School, Marrickville High School and Nepean Navy Cadets will take their turn through the Expo and Navy Life Experience.

They’ll take a landing craft across the Harbour to HMAS Adelaide, look it over from the bridge to the hospital to the aviation hangar, see where the sailors live and work, check out the S100 Camcopter drone and have lunch with the crew in the junior sailor’s café.

And they’ll see for themselves that Navy is diverse, it’s inclusive, and it is welcoming young Australians to join the Navy community.

I congratulate the Navy on this great initiative, and I now declare this Navy Life Expo officially open.

Thank you.


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