Abbott will put UAV drones in Northern Australia25 September 2012
Earlier today, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott outlined a promising plan for a stronger military presence in northern Australia in a speech to the RSL national conference in Sydney. Mr Abbott stated that a coalition government would immediately begin the process of “acquiring state-of-the-art unmanned aircraft” as part of a move to increase spending on Australia’s Defence Force.
The Coalition plans to deploy what are commonly known as drones in Northern Australia.
It is refreshing to see a leading Australian politician finally taking the defence of northern Australia seriously. A defence force review released earlier this year found that there was significant “weakness and risks” in Australia’s military capabilities in the north-west. Currently the north-west is home to two small army regiments, and is completely devoid of any permanent naval installments.
Yet this is a region of significant national importance. The resources in the Pilbara alone contribute 60 per cent of Australia’s total exports to China. Investment in liquefied natural gas projects in the region are set to hit around $200 billion. The lack of military infrastructure in the region is made more alarming by the proximity of major security threats in the Indian Ocean instability in the South China Sea.
Mr Abbott’s plan to concentrate more of Australia’s military strength in the region is a welcome response to the growing importance the north-west, both strategically and economically.
And the capacity of drones to cover vast areas makes them perfectly suited to Australia’s north-west coastlines.