Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Royal Australian Navy
Subject to Senator McGrath giving us 60 seconds of his opinions, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes with concern reports that the Royal Australian Navy's two largest ships, the Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, have engine problems and have been unable to join the emergency response to Cyclone Debbie;
(b) notes that:
(i) Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships are our key asset for humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations, and
(ii) HMAS Canberra was conducting trials with the United States' Marine Corps as recently as last week; and
(c) calls on the Australian Government to explain why our premier HADR assets were not available to respond to a long-forecast potential disaster situation.
This motion displays a complete lack of understanding about defence preparedness arrangements. Under the ADF's regular planning cycle, HMAS Choules assumed duties as the on-line-already ship to support any humanitarian and disaster relief requirements in mid-March. She arrived in Brisbane this morning to pick up stores before heading towards affected areas.
During recent first-of-class flight trials, a propulsion issue was identified aboard HMAS Canberra, and she is currently being inspected. As a prudent measure, the same inspections were conducted on HMAS Adelaide and identified emergent issues. As advised by Navy, both ships are still in the operational test and evaluation period, which is the expected period in which such issues are identified prior to final operational capability being declared. These inspections have had no impact on Defence meeting its operational tasks.
Question agreed to.