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Combat forces moth-balled while the bureaucracy spends millions

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JHt - ^ A U B T R ^ I A ^ MTHE SENATESENATOR PETER DU RACK, QCDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for DefenceCo m b a t fo r c e s m o t h -b a l l e d w h il e t h e b u r e a u c r a c y s p e n d s m illio n s"Taking destroyers and frigates out of active service is the wrong approach to making cost savings in the Navy," said the Shadow Minister for Defence, Senator Peter Durack."Cost savings can be achieved in the Defence Force without weakening our combat forces."Senator Durack was commenting on today's Sydney Morning Herald story that financial mismanagement in Defence is forcing the Navy to take ships out of active service."At the same time these ships are out of service, money is still being spent on areas of little or no importance for Australia’s defence."If savings have to be made, why not look at cutting consultancy services to Defence, which cost $32 million last financial year?"Why not cut the remaining $26 million which Labor plans to spend on the inshore minehunter prototype ships, even though the program was cancelled in 1991?"Money could also be saved by cutting Defence administrative overheads. In 1991, for example, postage and telephone charges cost Defence $62 million, advertising $20 million, office equipment $41 million and travel expenses $214 million."Are we seriously expected to believe that savings cannot be made in these areas, and that the only alternative is to moth-ball major ships?"The proposal to tie-up Navy combat ships is a nonsense. Savings could be made in other areas if the Government had the will to tackle the problem."Defence needs firm direction from the Government, and a resetting of strategic priorities so that bureaucratic costs are cut rather than combat forces."ends Wednesday 19 February 1992More Information: Peter Jennings 06 277 3725COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY L IB R A R Y MiCAHTelephone: 09/221 1277 06/277 3725. Facsimile: 09/221 3350 06/277 3169