Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

NT Taskforce Operational Commander

The Government has appointed Major General Dave Chalmers to be full time Operational Commander of the Northern Territory Emergency Task Force Operational Group.

Major General Chalmers will also be a member of the Taskforce Leadership Group, chaired by Magistrate Dr Sue Gordon. In effect Major General Chalmers will exercise a role similar to that of an Executive Director.

The appointment follows advice from the provisionally appointed group commander, former Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner, Shane Castles, in the wake of more briefings on the magnitude of the task, that he did not feel that his family and life circumstances would allow him to do justice to what is a significant undertaking.

Mr Castles indicated his best wishes to the Government, the Taskforce and the community in what he feels is an admirable effort to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people.

The Government thanks Mr Castles for having been prepared to consider the role in the first instance and respects his decision in the interests of operational success, noting that his prompt advice before assuming duty would not disrupt the operation.

Major General Chalmers has considerable organisational and command experience in a range of endeavours, notably in East Timor and as commander of the joint task force that provided humanitarian relief in Sumatra in the wake of the Tsunami.

The Government considers that General Chalmers’ experience and his professional full time connection with a major logistic support component of the Emergency operation makes him ideally suited to the role.

Major General Chalmers has already had initial briefings on the Government’s objectives and progress of the initial steps in the Northern Territory, is participating in today’s first Taskforce meeting and will assume formal duties from Tuesday of this week.