Wednesday, 01 February 2017
Media release

New Commander for Operation Sovereign Borders

Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne takes over as the new Commander of Operation Sovereign Borders from today.

He succeeds Major General Andrew Bottrell who has led the border security operation for almost two years during which there have been no successful people smuggling ventures to Australia.

Air Vice-Marshal Osborne has over 30 years' experience in the Australian Defence Force including serving as the Commander of Australia's AP-3C Orion detachment in the Middle East and as the Royal Australian Air Force's Director of General Strategy and Planning.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton today congratulated Air Vice-Marshal Osborne on his appointment and thanked Major General Bottrell for his service.

"Air Vice-Marshal Osborne's extensive experience in the Defence Force makes him ideally qualified to oversee Australia's border protection operations as its third commander," Mr Dutton said.

"He joins Operation Sovereign Borders at a time when our aerial surveillance and maritime patrol capabilities are stronger than ever.

"It's been more than two and a half years since a people smuggling boat has made it to Australia. The illegal maritime pathway to Australia is closed and it will stay closed.

"Air Vice-Marshal Osborne will continue to ensure that any people smuggling boats that attempt to reach Australia will be detected, intercepted and turned back."

Mr Dutton warned those who are thinking of attempting to come to Australia illegally by boat that Australia's tough border protection policies are here to stay.

"Settlement in Australia will never be an option for anyone who attempts to travel to Australia illegally by boat," he said.

"I sincerely thank Major General Bottrell for his outstanding leadership of Operation Sovereign Borders. He has played a key role in protecting Australia's borders, denying people smugglers a product to sell and most importantly, preventing vulnerable people from risking their lives at sea."

Major General Bottrell now returns to the ADF.