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Bilney's Extraordinary Admission of Failure

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Media Release

Allan Rocher MP Shadow Minister for Defence Science & Personnel


Mr Bilney's admission that the Army is 700 short of its target of recruiting 1,300 Ready Reservists is an extraordinary admission of failure.

Despite a $1 million advertising campaign and the highest levels of unemployment since the Great Depression, the Government has still been unable to meet its Ready Reserve recruitment targets.

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel today announced that applications would be reopened in an attempt to make up the numbers.

Mr Bilney's mock disbelief at the failure of the Ready Reserve scheme does nothing to hide the fact that the scheme is a dud from a defence point of view and that many potential recruits want to join the Regular Force and not the Ready Reserve.

The Government's belief that Ready Reserves are an adequate substitute for Regular forces is a dangerous nonsense, which would leave the Army with only four Regular battalions and understrength for the tasks it may be called upon to perform.

The sole rationale for the scheme is that it will supposedly save money, but the Government has already been forced to admit that the Army believes the cost of a Ready Reservist will be double that originally estimated.

The cost of a Ready Reservist may well end up being comparable to that of a Regular, but with significantly less combat effectiveness.

The Coalition will scrap the Ready Reserve scheme. ........

Serving Ready Reservists will be given the option of joining either the Regular Force or the General Reserve. : ^ : v :

The Coalition will nonetheless honour existing contracts with Ready Reservists to ; provide them with the same conditions of service they were promised when they ■ joined the scheme. ; ... ,·â–  . ..: .. ■ :

7 December 1992 ; i i

For further information: Allan Rocher or Stephen Kirchner (06) 277 4727.