The strategic significance of Torres Strait

Author/s (editor/s):

Ross Babbage

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 61

The Torres Strait region is potentially one of the most exposed parts of Australia. From the northernmost islands, the coast of Papua New Guinea is clearly visible. Numerous Australian and foreign ships and small craft pass through the straits daily. During 1987 and 1988 some Islander leaders became so frustrated with government administration that they called for independence from Australia.

This book, prepared on contract to the Department of Defence, examines the major issues in government administration of relevance to security planners, quantifies the patterns of ship passage through the straits and then explores the current and future strategic significance of the Torres Strait region in the context of national defence planning. The report concludes with some specific recommendations for strengthening aspects of defence planning and activities in the region. Supplementing the main text are no less than 19 annexes on specialist aspects of Torres Strait security.

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