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Tuesday, 28 August 1973
Page: 491

Mr Garland asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(1)   Did he say that the defence expenditure under the evel of expenditure is to be arrived at (a) as the level it was under the McMahon Government; if so, has he carried out any examination of die number of years that that rate of expenditure would be held before it was reduced.

(2)   Will he indicate whether the maintenance . of the level of expenditure is to be arrived at (a) as the amount spent in (i) 1972 or

Mr Barnard - The answer to the . honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   There are' two questions contained herein. The answer tq the first is 'yes'; and the answer to the second is) 'no'i

(2)   Determination of the level of defence expenditure arbitrarily by reference solely to some previous level or as proportion of an economic aggregate such as Gross Domestic Product is unrealistic. The level of defence expenditure determined by this government will take into account the size, composition and capabilities appropriate to our evaluation of the strategic situation. In this regard a number of studies now being made, such as the location of defence facilities, will have an important bearing. Nor can the assessment be done in isolation but must take into account the government's assessment of priorities between competing areas of government expenditure.

Mr Kerin (MACARTHUR, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:

(1)   Can he say whether the Royal Navy recently took delivery of a guided missile warship of 6,000 tons, namely HMS Bristol.

(2)   If so, can be also say whether the cost of this ship was $50m and whether it is powered by both steam and gas turbines. ' '

(3)   If the details are as stated, what would be the main items of expense that would lift the projected cost of the Australian DDL design sp much above the British design.

Mr Barnard - The answer to the honourable member's questions is as follows: '

(1)   Yes; it is understood that the ship is of about 6,000 tons.

(2)   It is confirmed that HMS Bristol is powered by both steam and gas turbines. We have no derails of the cost of the ship. Complete details of the basis of any quoted cost are necessary for valid comparison between different destroyer types.

(3)   The DDL has been costed to include every attributable cost. If the.. Bristol were costed on the same basis, it is unlikely that she would be any cheaper as she is larger than the - British Type 42 destroyer. This latter ship' was. found to have - costs similar to the DDL. It is understood that the Royal Navy is not contemplating' building any more ships of the Bristol class. . . .

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