The Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson,
Minister for Defence

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04 Sep 2006
127/06
  Date

 

ADDITIONAL TROOPS FOR OPERATION OVERWATCH

 

The Australian Government has decided to increase the number of troops serving as part of the Overwatch Battle Group (West) in Tallil in southern Iraq.

 

Based on an assessment made by Defence after the first month of operations of the Overwatch Battle Group, an additional 38 personnel and four Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles are being deployed. The extra troops and equipment will increase the force protection element for our troops already based in Tallil.

 

Following the transfer of security responsibility in Al Muthanna to the Iraqi Government, around 450 Australian troops were redeployed to the Tallil air base in Dhi Qar province. Another 30 personnel are helping train the Iraqi Army at the Basic Training Centre in Tallil.

 

This decision will not change the role Australian troops are performing as part of the Overwatch Battle Group. The extra contingent will enhance logistics and intelligence support as well as providing increased protected mobility to the Australian troops based in Tallil.

 

This additional deployment lifts the number of Australian troops serving in southern Iraq to over 500. There will now be a large amount of armoured equipment, including 19 Bushmasters in support of our military personnel. Australia’s commitment to Operation Catalyst (Iraq) totals approximately 1400 personnel.

 

The Australian Government constantly reviews the requirements of our overseas deployments and will ensure our troops are equipped with whatever they need. We remain fully committed to contributing to security and stability in Iraq.

 

The worst thing Australian and Coalition forces could do now is pull out of Iraq.

 

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