Navy has achieved a great deal this year. We have made great strides to introduce new capabilities, with the commissioning of HMAS Canberra, completion of two more Anzac upgrades and the arrival in Australia of the first Seahawk Romeos. We will see much more of them in 2015; they are game-changers.
While much of the focus is on the individual platforms, I would like to acknowledge everyone who has been involved with the acquisition of all aspects of these capabilities, from the infrastructure, maintenance and sustainment aspects, to the training and operation - every bit is important, every bit counts.
As some capabilities enter service, so others leave. Recently, we decommissioned the remaining three LCHs, Labuan, Brunei and Tarakan. They served us well through four decades and I pay tribute to everyone who has contributed over their service.
Navy has also been prominent in furthering cooperation between the maritime forces of our region this year. The successful conduct of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium is one element of that, as is the numerous exercises and interactions with our counterparts around Australia and on deployment.
2014 marked the start of a period of commemoration, in Australia and globally, to mark 100 years since the start of the WWI.
Most of the commemorations have been about the actions of our predecessors in the RAN. There is a reason for that - when the nation went to war, Navy was ready. Navy led the way in securing our region and securing our trade routes; we escorted the troopships when the Australian Imperial Force was ready to deploy and, along with the other Allied navies, ensured the land forces could be supported. The Fleet’s operations in 1914 spanned the Indo-Pacific: Sydney defeated Emden, Australia deterred the German Fleet from attack south toward Australia, the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force won the Battle of Bita Paka. We can be very proud of what the Navy achieved and their actions in 1914 remain examples to which we can aspire.
As always, what has defined the year has been our operations and exercises: RESOLUTE, SLIPPER then MANITOU, PHILIPPINES ASSIST, LANDSCAPE, RENDER SAFE, PARAPET, SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN, KAKADU, RIMPAC, DISTANT SHORES and many others. We have worked hard this year and, from my perspective, we have done well.
While RESOLUTE continues to be a challenge, and the loss of HMAS Bundaberg was a setback, it was good to see the way Navy responded.
I was also pleased to see Melville and Leeuwin back into survey work. To all the RESOLUTE crews and everyone who support them, I am very appreciative of your efforts.
The successful drug interdictions in the Middle East are examples of the good work being done and help demonstrate the value to Australia from the great work done there.
I am also very glad to see Success take part in the Middle East operations, building on her good work in RIMPAC and the Southern Indian Ocean searching for MH370. Her success is another example of the efforts of many people.
As I have moved around since taking command in July this year, in all parts of the Navy I see people working hard, living Navy values and signature behaviours.
I encourage you all to continue to put these into practical use, to live them out in the way you do your business every day.
While there is much we have to do in 2015, I think everyone in Navy can take great satisfaction in what has been achieved this year. Thank you for your efforts.
I also wish to thank all our families. No words can truly say how important you are to us; we could not do everything we have to without your support.
To those who have the opportunity, I wish you a happy and relaxing leave period. To those who will remain on watch, at sea and ashore, and to those who remain at short notice to respond, I thank you for your devotion to duty. Others can relax and celebrate because you remain vigilant.
I wish everyone a safe and merry Christmas, and I look forward to seeing you in 2015.