Lismore reservists may go to Timor

THE Lismore-based 41st Battalion Reserves unit may be required to supply troops for deployment to East Timor as the nature of the challenge there changed, the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said yesterday.

A spokesperson for the battalion yesterday was unable to comment on whether local troops would be sent and how many were likely to go.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said he was happy with operations in East Timor, where 450 Australian and New Zealand troops were currently deployed.

“We recently made a decision to increase the number of reservists that will be in Timor Leste,” he told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra. “We’ll probably build our force around a fairly sizeable reservist force.”

Reservists may be a majority of the Australian force in East Timor within six months, he said.

“We’re in a process of transition. Where we are at the moment, it’s fine,” he said.

Air Chief Marshal Houston went on to praise the work of res-ervists, who had been involved in conflicts across the globe.

“Our reservists in recent times have done a magnificent job,” he said.



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