While Latham makes up his mind about missiles, illegal migrants, how much he is going to hate Bush and the US this week so he can change his opinion next week, the Government quietly get on with border security. From Defence Media.
The Minister for Defence, Robert Hill, and the Minister for Justice and Customs, Chris Ellison, signed two land use agreements today with Torres Strait Islanders that will lead the way to improved border protection for northern Australia.The Government are setting up a high frequency surface wave radar on two Torres Strait Islands that will help customs intercept immigration, quarantine and fisheries offenders; assist with search and rescue operations; and provide early storm warnings. Clearly their are pure defence considerations as well. Spin offs include jobs and infrastructure that will help the locals. While Labour go on about setting up a US style Coast Guard, the Government proves it is not necessary. Technology will help our RAN patrol boats to target specific incidences rather than have a multi billion dollar ‘single roll’ Coast guard. I’ve blogged previously on Labour’s policy of Coast Guard vs the current Coast Watch and am still of the opinion that we should reinforce success by building up our Coast Watch rather than start a new service.
The radar’s two-to-three year trial begins in August. During this time it will provide 24-hour, wide-area surveillance of aircraft, ships and boats travelling in the Torres Strait. The $19 million initiative is jointly funded by Customs and Defence and demonstrates yet again the close working relationship of these agencies in the protection of Australia’s borders.Another good move.