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New report creates more concern for Australia's Air Defence.



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Hon Arch Bevis MP Federal Member for Brisbane Shadow Minister for Defence Planning, Procurement and Personnel Assisting the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations

7 April 2005

NEW REPORT CREATES MORE CONCERN FOR AUSTRALIA’S AIR DEFENCE

Shadow Minister for Defence Planning and Procurement Arch Bevis said a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) yesterday has serious implications for Australia’s air defence.

Mr Bevis said: “In an earlier report the GAO had already concluded the business case for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was ‘unexecutable’, with development costs having increased 80% and the programme two years behind schedule.”

In recent testimony before a US Senate Committee, the GAO said:

“Changes in the JSF program and DOD’s [Department of Defence] intent to begin producing aircraft with at least 6 years of development remaining suggest that the JSF does not yet have the knowledge to justify future investments.”

Mr Bevis added: “The implication of this is that it is highly likely that further delays to the delivery of the JSF will occur before it is operational.”

“Given that the Howard Government has virtually committed Australia to the JSF programme and decided to retire the F-111 ten years early in 2010, we are faced with a serious gap in our air defence superiority in our region.”

“Once again I call on the Minister for Defence to authorise a parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s ability to maintain air superiority in our region to 2020.

“This is in line with the unanimous recommendation of the Parliament’s Defence Committee last year.

“This was something government members of the committee agreed to before the election but, like so many other government commitments before the election, this has been forgotten after the election.”

7th April, 2005

Further information: Rodney Kendall 0409 374 900