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Federal Opposition to review Defence's CSP

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Media Release Hon Arch Bevis MP Shadow Minister for Defence 26 August 1998

Federal Opposition to review Defence’s CSP

The Federal Opposition has committed itself to a review of Defence's commercial support program if elected.

Shadow Defence Minister Arch Bevis said today that Labor has major concerns with many aspects of the current Commercial Support Program (CSP) and its massive expansion under the Howard Government.

"When it was introduced in 1991 it was a good program aimed at non-core Defence activities. From 1991 to 1996 over 5,700 military and civilian jobs were market tested. But as a result of the Liberal's Defence Efficiency Review and this Government's obsession with out-sourcing the Howard Government plans to market test a further 16,000 by the year 2,000.

"That's an eight fold increase aimed at finding dollars and very little to do with increasing ADF capability. It reflects the Defence Minister's view that Defence is just like any other business. It's the accountant's view of Defence," Mr Bevis said.

"I have a number of major concerns with this massive expansion of CSP and its impact on Defence, especially long term ADF capability. Morale has also suffered as the Liberal Government dramatically exposed more military areas to commercial activity and accelerated the rate of change. Job security, career paths, quality of life, and commitment to the ADF have all been heavily discounted by the Howard Government.

"The Government has even announced plans to commercialise the storage of ammunition for Navy - an essential front line activity.

"The Howard Government's massive expansion of CSP needs to be investigated and if Labor wins the next election, it will be," Mr Bevis said.

For further information: John Crawford 02 6271 4505 0419 685 789

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