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Thursday, 14 November 1985
Page: 2214

(Question No. 531)

Senator Macklin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 12 September 1985:

(1) Is there extreme shortage of 7.62 mm and 5.56 mm calibre military ammunition.

(2) Has the next two years' supply run of 7.62 mm ammunition been rejected because of faulty brass case wall construction.

(3) Is the newer, smaller 5.56 mm calibre fully imported and none of this calibre yet manufactured in Australia.

(4) Are Army units storing their practice ammunition and have Reserve Forces in some units been advised to purchase ammunition privately, with the result that many recruits have not been able to qualify with arms.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) There are no problems in meeting Army's present capability and training requirements in any configuration of either 7.62 or 5.56 calibre ammunition.

(2) No 7.62 mm ammunition has been rejected recently for problems of cartridge case wall thickness nor are such problems anticipated.

(3) No 5.56 mm ammunition is manufactured in Australia at present. However, with the proposed adoption by Army of weapons of this calibre local production of 5.56 mm ammunition is also proposed and planning for production has commenced.

(4) See (1) above. For ammunition in excess of those requirements existing regulations allow units to store ammunition, including practice ammunition provided suitable approved storage facilities exist.

Army reserve units have not been advised to purchase ammunition privately nor are there any known instances of recruits being unable to qualify with arms due to lack of ammunition.