Report calls for higher military presence near resources projects

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Planners in the Australian Defence Force have urged the military to maintain a strong presence in the country’s north and northwest to guard important resources projects.

According to the latest review of Australia’s defence, an increased military presence around the country’s offshore oil and gas projects would ensure they were not seen as easy targets.

"The review makes the point that there is a perception in the north and northwest of Australia of a lack of visibility, which undermines the notion of the defend Australia policy," Defence Minister Stephen Smith told reporters.

The United States has already announced plans to strengthen its presence in the Asia Pacific by placing 2,500 marines in a base in northern Australia.

The review said securing energy supplies and key sea lines would be a "strategic driver for both competition and cooperation in the Indian Ocean region to 2030".

The Defence Force has also expressed concerns it was struggling to attract skilled workers and losing labour to resources companies.

The ADF said because of the shortage defence of Australia’s north may have to be conducted on a FIFO basis, or sail-in-sail-out for the navy.

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