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Government responsible for high ADF accident rate

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PETER W H TE Μ PFederal Member for McPhersonSHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENSEMEDIA RELEASECOMMONW EALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY C. I. S.D69/88 29 August 1988GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIGH ADF ACCIDENT RATEThere is no doubt that the low levels of experience in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) are contributing to a higher accident rate. Some of these accidents result in serious injury and death.In June this year, when giving evidence to the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, the Acting Director of Air Safety, Wing Commander Moran, said:"We have had an increasing accident rate in the Airforce over the last 12 months and especially over the last six months. In fact, the first six months of this year have been the worst introduction to the year that we have had in the last 20 years ... What we have found this year, which has been one of our worst years, is that inexperience has been a major factor in aircraft accidents to date."In December 1987, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Hudson, stated in relation to the death of two submariners off Sydney:"There were also external factors which contributed to the tragedy which included ... reduced levels of experience of some of the more junior personnel."More recently, in his submission to the Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Personnel Wastage Rates in the ADF, Admiral Hudson said:"High turnover categories with retention difficulties lead to low experience levels in those personnel going to sea, ''particularly in the middle level sailor population. This adds to the likelihood of increased numbers of groundings, collisions and accidents at sea."These low levels of experience are a direct result of record ADF wastage rates. Record losses mean less experience'd personnel and the early promotion of inexperienced personnel.The blame for this high accident rate must be squarely placed on the shoulders of the Government and the Defence Ministers, because it flows from their now notorious neglect of Defence Force personnel. For f u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n c o n t a c t P e t e r White, 0 6 2 - 7 7 4 1 4 5.