Australian Border Force (ABF) capability in the North will soon be strengthened with the establishment of a permanent marine base in Darwin.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton today welcomed the new marine base saying it will allow the ABF to have its own berthing facility for patrol vessels in the busy port of Darwin and further support operations to secure Australia's maritime borders.
"This facility will help ensure the ABF can continue to rapidly and effectively respond to maritime incidents in the north including stopping illegal maritime arrivals, removing abandoned fishing nets that endanger native marine life and preventing organised crime syndicates trying to ship prohibited substances to Australia," Mr Dutton said.
Berthing arrangements in the past have been ad hoc, meaning ABF patrol boats could spend extended times waiting for wharf space to become available.
The new facility, which is expected to be fully operational by February 2016, will provide a permanent location for patrol vessels to replenish and rotate crews between patrols.
"Australia takes its responsibilities in the region seriously and the new marine base will boost the ABF's capacity to fight transnational crime, including terrorism, piracy, and illegal foreign fishing, while offering a safety of life at sea capability for vessels in distress," Mr Dutton said.
"The Australian Government progressed this initiative because we recognise the benefits it will provide to Australia and the northern region."
The facility is being developed by Toll Remote Logistics, Bhagwan Marine and Austal, with the active support of the Northern Territory Government and the Darwin Port Corporation.