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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 2 Hansard (29 February) . . Page.. 397 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

The Australian Government is conducting a general review of the Australian Defence Force to determine what should happen in the defence area from here on in. I think it is very important to ensure that our Defence Force is adequately resourced to do its job. That will not be easy. We will face major problems over the next 20 years in terms of capital equipment replacement, but it is probably unavoidable that there will have to be an increase in defence expenditure. I think that that is something that will need to happen.

Our troops did exceptionally well in difficult circumstances in East Timor. However, we owe it to them to ensure that, if they get into other difficult situations in the years to come, they will have adequate back-up, physically and morally, from the people of Australia and the Federal Government, so the results of the review will be of particular importance. But that is for the future. I think we can be justifiably proud of the wonderful effort of the young men and women of the Australian Defence Force in East Timor. One had only to see the farewell that the Interfet people were given last week to understand how much the East Timorese people had appreciated their presence. I think that will stand Australia in good stead, not only with the East Timorese people but with the region generally, for many years to come. I think we all owe the troops a debt of extreme gratitude.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Assembly adjourned at 5.13 pm

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the Canberra region. It is also an important meeting place for other Aboriginal peoples. We respect their continuing cultures and value the contribution they make to life in the ACT.