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Defence jobs at risk!



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Mon, 9th February 2009

DEFENCE JOBS AT RISK!

The Hon Bob Baldwin MP Shadow Minister for Defence Science, Personnel and Assisting Shadow Minister for Defence

Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and Assisting Shadow Minister for Defence, Bob Baldwin has expressed serious concern today following reports that hundreds of Defence jobs will be lost or relocated under efficiency plans that will see up to $1billion a year cut from Defence spending.

The savings identified in a recent Budget review will be part of the Government’s Defence White Paper in April. This comes in the wake of the recent Pappas Report that suggests measures including base closures, the rationalisation of the national defence estate, and cuts to operational budgets across the services.

“At a time when government should be spending money to support industry and protect jobs, and a time when Australia is considering an increase to it commitment in Afghanistan the Rudd Labor Government is threatening to cut Defence spending and risk hundreds of Defence jobs!” Said Mr Baldwin.

“Ensuring every Australian has the opportunity to work is a fundamental responsibility of Government, and one of the most important objectives of economic management. The focus of this Government should be on jobs but it would seem the Government is willing to sacrifice Defence jobs whilst racking up $200 billion of debt.” Said Mr Baldwin.

“This Government is in the middle of a $56billion spending spree supposedly aimed at boosting confidence in the economy and securing jobs… but apparently not if you work for Defence!” Said Mr Baldwin. “The Minister for Defence needs to come clean and detail any proposed plans that will see bases closed and jobs lost. What assets, what jobs are likely to be lost?”

Richmond RAAF base, which, along with Woodside Army Barracks SA, was saved from closure by the Coalition in 2007, is a facility likely to again be at risk of closure.

“The Richmond base employs over 2000 people and is worth no less than $130million to the local economy”. Said Mr Baldwin, who again voiced the Coalition’s opposition to proposed base closures.

“The government, whilst still paying lip service to its promise of a 3% annual increase in Defence funding is looking to double its planned $10billion cut backs and is now planning to sacrifice hundreds of Defence jobs.” Said Mr Baldwin.