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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6448

Mr LINDSAY (4:48 PM) —You will be aware of the Auditor-General’s report into the Army Reserve forces that was released just four days before the budget. Given the personnel shortfalls and deficiencies exposed in the audit, it appears that the budget’s projected manning figures for the Army Reserve are not realistic. Despite clear indications that the reserves are awash with manning problems, the budget is projecting a doubling of the High Readiness Reserve in the next 12 months. These targets cannot be taken seriously. The HRR target is about 30 per cent or 200 personnel short in this current year. Even more worrying is that the audit suggests that less than half the personnel in four key ranks—including private, lance corporal and sergeant—are not adequately trained. Defence data indicates that around 20 per cent of Army Reserve soldiers are not even attending basic training evenings. I do not want to take up the time of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, but I would just like to ask you: how does the government expect to achieve the budgetary targets that were in this year’s budget, given that the Auditor-General’s report indicated serious problems of manning in the Army Reserve?