Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra

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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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1 August 2023

SUBJECTS: MRH-90 incident, Support available for current and past serving personnel, as well as for their families.

MATT THISTLETHWAITE, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: I just want to give an update on the incident with the MRH-90 Taipan and the recovery operation. Yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Force confirmed that given the time since the chopper had gone down, and the fact that wreckage had been found at the facility, all hope has been lost of recovering the four members of the 5th [6th] Aviation Regiment who went missing on Friday evening. The operation has now moved to a search and recovery mission.

Some of the wreckage has been recovered, but the search continues for the remainder of the wreckage, and hopefully, the recovery of the bodies. We teach and train our members of the Australian Defence Force to be tough in the face of adversity, to show stoicism, and to get on with the job. But the defence family is hurting today and throughout this week. They've lost mates, loved ones, and family members, and I want to reach out to members of the Australian Defence Force to tell them that help is available.

If you want to talk to someone, if you need help, you should reach out and seek that help to the Defence Member and Family Helpline. You can call that number on 1800 624 608 or Open Arms, the Defence and Veterans' family member support service. During this difficult time for the defence family, defence members, their families, and friends should know that support is available, and that the Australian community is wrapping its arms around the Defence family and that you can reach out and seek that assistance. Thank you.


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