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Defence budget blow out signals trouble.



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Media Release

 

Hon Stephen Martin MP

Shadow Minister for Defence

Federal Member for Cunningham

 

30 June 1999

 

DEFENCE BUDGET BLOW OUT SIGNALS TROUBLE

 

The Shadow Minister for Defence, Stephen Martin, today demanded that his Ministerial counterpart, Mr Moore, respond to reports that the Defence budget for this financial year is expected to blow out by $100 million.

 

It has been reported that Australia’s military chiefs have been forced to withdraw funding bids that would have blown out the defence budget by a ridiculous $900 million.

 

“It is essential that the Minister either confirm or deny the reports that the defence budget for this financial year will blow out by nearly $100 million,” Mr Martin said.

 

“I think it is also important that the Minister confirm or deny if Australia’s military chiefs have been forced to withdraw funding bids that would have seen the defence budget blow out by nearly $1 Billion.

 

“It is very concerning to hear reports that Australia’s peak military decision making body, the Defence Executive Committee, has been meeting to deal with this budget blow out and has canvassed issues such as tying up warships for extended periods under the guise of giving crews extra time off.

 

“Tying up warships and grounding aircraft are the type of options that could easily compromise national security and Australia’s Defence. I hope this is not the type of budgetary outcome that the DRP is going to be delivering every year.

 

“Perhaps this is a very clear message from Australia’s senior defence chiefs to the Minister telling him that the Government’s reform program -that has caused the loss of thousands of our most experienced fighting men and women - has compromised Australia’s Defence.

 

“The Minister needs to outline what actions he is taking to fix this complete shambles and to ensure that Australia’s national security will not be compromised by his budget blow out solutions,” Mr Martin concluded.

 

 

More Information: Matthew Cossey on (02) 6277 4363 or 0412 023 334

 

 

cm  1999-07-02  09:56