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Gration endorses Opposition on defence capability problems



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NEWS RELEASE FROM

SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE SCIENCE & PERSONNEL

GRATION ENDORSES OPPOSITION ON DEFENCE CAPABILITY PROBLEMS

Australia's most senior military officer, General Peter Gration has confirmed concerns expressed by the Federal Opposition about the diminution of Australia's Defence Force capability, the Senate was told today.

In a Notice of Motion, the Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Senator Jocelyn Newman told the Senate, that General Gration had now ordered two major Defence reviews because of fears that the forces are not ready to deal with emergency deployment.

The two reviews will examine problems with transport and supply for rapid deployment and concerns as to whether enough ammunition and spare parts are being kept.

General Gration's comments, which were reported in last Thursday's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, reinforce the Opposition's belief that these problems are arising due to the squeeze in Defence spending.

The Government is to be condemned for its budgetary priorities which have jeopardised our logistic capacity to support Australia's defence operations in an emergency.

Flying in the face of Government propaganda on the subject, General Gration also pointed to the need to make sure that Defence Forces kept up the skills and professionalism necessary to deal with sudden contingencies such as last year's deployment to evacuate Australians from Fiji.

Senator Newman said that it was reassuring to finally see a recognition of these factors.

12/12/88

Further details contacts

Senator Jocelyn Newman (062) 77 3660