9 AUGUST 2015 AT 1405

Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here today to farewell the crew of HMAS Melbourne as she departs for the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.

The men and women deploying for the next seven months have an important role in maintaining the maritime security on which our Australian way of life depends.

Operation Manitou is Australia’s contribution to the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces and will support efforts to counter and deter terrorism and the trade of narcotics on the seas.

But for those who deployed on Operation Manitou, this is also about service to their nation, and loyalty to their mates.

This is not often glamorous work. But it is important work, and it is work that can’t be done by just anyone.

The crew’s commitment and hard work in preparation for this deployment have prepared them for the challenges of the next seven month.

For some crew and their families, this won’t be their first deployment.

Although you are away from family by distance, you are ever present in our in thoughts and prayers.

I would also take this opportunity to recognise the families of Melbourne’s crew.

There will be times that seem extremely difficult. The Australia Defence Force is a family. Please, don’t forget you’re not alone and use support networks around you.

I thank every member of Melbourne’s ship’s company for the contribution they are about to make to global security and to our way of life.

As a nation, we express or gratitude for the sacrifice and dedication of Australian men and women who serve.