31 July 2023
SUBJECTS: Taipan helicopter crash, search operations, future of the MRH-90 helicopter fleet.
MINISTER FOR DEFENCE INDUSTRY, PAT CONROY: Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the four missing ADF personnel. The search resumes today. We have over 800 participants in that search and rescue, including members of the Australian Defence Force, the US military, the Canadian military involved and civilian operations. So, it's really important that our focus remains on supporting the families of the four ADF personnel as the search continues.
JOURNALIST: Is the government considering phasing out the Taipans earlier than the end of next year deadline?
MINISTER CONROY: I think it's premature to speculate on that. The MRH-90 fleet has been grounded while the air safety investigation team begins its work. We'll look at the findings of the air safety investigation team and then make a decision on how we operate that fleet, but it's premature to speculate at this stage.
JOURNALIST: Are these aircraft safe?
MINISTER CONROY: As the Chief of Army said yesterday, the army does not take unnecessary risks and the aircraft were declared safe to operate after the earlier incident.
JOURNALIST: So, just to be clear, you're expecting the Taipans to be grounded until at least the final report from this investigation has happened?
MINISTER CONROY: Well, I'm not going to talk about timelines. They're grounded at the moment. Let's let the air safety investigation team do their work and then the Army and the Department of Defence will make the decisions based on what comes back. Thank you, everyone.