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Shadow Minister discusses grounding of Seasprite helicopters.

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Monday, 15 May 2006


M ARK DAWSON:   The federal government has grounded a billion dollar helicopter fleet and is considering scrapping it altogether.


Hayden Cooper reports.


HAYDEN COOPER:  The Defence Minister Brendan Nelson has banned the troubled Seasprite helicopters from flying. The fleet has been plagued with technical problems. The minister’s spokesman says they involve flying at night over water and in mists. The federal government has spent a billion dollars on the 10 helicopters with one more yet to be delivered. The Opposition’s Defence Industry spokesman Mark Bishop says it is not good enough.


MARK BISHOP:  It really is scandalous that we buy major platforms and there is insufficient thought, insufficient preparation gone into their use here.


HAYDEN COOPER:  The government has ordered a review into the helicopters to decide whether to persist with the Nowra based fleet or scrap it altogether.


Hayden Cooper, Parliament House, Canberra.