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Sea King Board of Inquiry

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AO AFC

Thank you for attending today's media conference.

The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Shalders, will shortly provide you with an overview of the outcome of the Navy's Sea King Board of Inquiry.

He will then ask the Board's Appointing Authority, Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas, to provide a more detailed briefing on Defence's plan to implement the Board's recommendations.

We will then take your questions.

However, before I hand over to Chief of Navy, I would like to state that I fully support the recommendations of this report. And I am committed to ensuring the implementation of all the Board's recommendations.

To ensure this implementation occurs, I have directed the following five strategies be adopted.

Firstly, a specialist Implementation Team, headed by a Senior Officer, has been established to verify the recommendations are properly and fully implemented.

Secondly, I have directed this team to develop implementation strategies for each recommendation including milestones for achievement and measures of success.

Thirdly, to ensure the highest level of oversight, I have directed the Implementation Team report directly to the Chiefs of Service Committee, the most senior management group within the Australian Defence Force. They will be required to submit to the Committee a quarterly report against each recommendation.

Fourthly, I have directed Defence continue the policy of openness and transparency maintained throughout the Board of Inquiry by providing routine public updates on the progress of implementing the recommendations. Additionally, our achievements against the recommendations will be detailed in forthcoming Defence Annual Reports.

Finally, in order to ensure the survivors and families of the victims are kept fully informed of our progress in implementing the recommendations, I have directed the Implementation Team offer to brief them on a quarterly basis.

I have made each of these directions to ensure the full and proper implementation of the Board's recommendations.

This is because as CDF, nothing is more important to me than the safety and wellbeing of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.

I want to ensure that, as far as possible, Defence is doing everything we can to prevent an accident of this nature from occurring again.

The loss of nine Defence Force members: Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy, Lieutenant Matthew Davey, Lieutenant Matthew Goodall, Lieutenant Paul Kimlin, Lieutenant Jonathan King, Flight Lieutenant Lynne Rowbottom, Petty Officer Stephen Slattery, Sergeant Wendy Jones and Leading Seaman Scott Bennet - and the injury of two others - Leading Seaman Shane Warburton and Corporal Scott Nichols - in this tragic accident, continues to be deeply felt by all members of the Australian Defence Force.

I know it has been a very difficult time for the survivors and the families of those members who died in this crash.

I want to assure them I am personally committed to ensuring all recommendations are implemented. I will accept nothing but the highest level of commitment from those under my command in this regard.

I now ask Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Shalders, to provide you with detail about the Board's findings.