The Australian Army will test how quickly reservists can be ready to help police respond to a terrorist incident during a national exercise this weekend, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.
Senator Hill said the exercise was one of a series designed to ensure the Reserve Response Force established last year was available at short notice to respond to domestic security incidents. Public notice was being given to avoid causing alarm.
“Reserve Response Force soldiers could be called on within hours of a terrorist incident to assist police and the Australian Defence Force,” Senator Hill said.
“It is vital that they are tested regularly to ensure they are well prepared to respond in the event of such an emergency.
This exercise will see the Army practice its call-out arrangements for the approximately 750 Reservists that have been trained around the country since the Reserve Response Force was raised last July.
“During the exercise, each member of the five Reserve Response Forces will be contacted and asked to report to their respective barracks in uniform and with their equipment. If they are unable to report they will need to explain why.
“The test will also confirm if contact details are correct and test the time taken to enact the call out. Once all members have reported to barracks their portion of the exercise is ended.
“Other exercises to test the effectiveness of the RRF will continue over the next 12 months.”
A RRF has been established in each Reserve Brigade in Australia and in Special Operations Command: 4 Brigade in Victoria; 5 Brigade in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory; 9 Brigade in South Australia/Tasmania; 13 Brigade in Western Australia and 1 Commando Regiment in New South Wales/Victoria. In due course RRF’s will also be established in 8 Brigade (NSW) and 11 Brigade (North Queensland).
They can undertake tasks including cordoning off areas, static protection of important locations and sites, low risk search, traffic control, logistic and communication support.
“Reserve personnel are an increasingly important part of the structure and capability of the Australian Defence Force,” Senator Hill said.
“They add another layer to our domestic security arrangements, supplementing the existing high readiness, full time ADF counter terrorism and domestic security elements such as the Tactical Assault Groups and the Incident Response Regiment and the regular response forces in Townsville, Brisbane, Darwin and Sydney.
“Our ADF has never been better prepared to respond to the threat of terrorism.”