Thursday, 24 January 2013

Australian Defence Force to enhance security of resource-rich regions

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is focusing on enhancing the security of the remote, resource-rich areas in the country's north and western regions.

A leaked defence white paper draft was cited by Australian Financial Review as saying that intensification of operational exercises in north and western part of the country was being planned by the military to help boost security of the region's oil, mining and gas assets.

" Work is already under way to enhance the ADF's preparedness for operations in the north-west," the document stated.

"A strategic level of war game focused on the security of Australia's energy resources and infrastructure was carried out in 2012 and more regular exercises and war games will follow."

Plans to enhance resource region's security follow a recent attack on a gas plant in Algeria.

Australia Defence Force chief David Hurley said the incident would help to focus on preventing similar attacks and safeguard the country's 5,000 mining, oil and gas workers, who are involved in various resource projects across Africa.

Valued at $380bn, the resource assets are increasingly considered vulnerable to terrorist attacks and other security threats due to poor-protection and isolation.

Commenting on the paper, Australian Liberal Party senator Simon Birmingham told Sky News that the move represented strategic interest in the country's north needed protection.

"We should be making sure we are well-equipped to protect those interests that are so critical to our export base and our economic future," Birmingham added.

Expected to be released by June 2013, the white paper has ruled out proposed establishment of a naval base in Brisbane to remove pressure at Woolloomooloo harbourside in Sydney, and a second training facility in northern Australia suggested by the opposition in 2012.

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