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Decision time on DIDS.

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Decision Time On DIDS Stephen Martin - Shadow Minister for Defence

Media Statement - 7 February 2001

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The Federal Labor Party has called on the new Minister for Defence, Peter Reith, to make a decision on the future of the Defence Integrated Distribution System (DIDS). The uncertainty created by the delay is causing severe anxiety to hundreds of Defence personnel at regional centres around the country, Stephen Martin, Shadow Minister for Defence, said today.

"Labor warned of the potential for significant job losses as a result of the implementation of DIDS, when the issue was first brought to our attention.

"It appears that the process of outsourcing storage and transport arrangements for Defence supplies has been stalled leaving those affected and their families in limbo, unsure of their ongoing employment," Dr Martin said.

"As a result of the delays and a looming federal election the Government is panicking over a foreseen electoral backlash if DIDS goes ahead and hundreds of regional jobs are lost.

"If Peter Reith intends to show that he is serious about the Defence portfolio and not just marking time until he retires, he should finalise the arrangements for DIDS or cancel it altogether.

"Mr Reith's predecessor had a predilection for blaming the Department for bungles of this sort - but this one rests with the Minister.

"DIDS has been a disaster from the start. It's been a disaster for industry, Defence Department employees engaged to oversee the project, and for the Defence organisation as a whole.

"Mr Reith has an opportunity to resolve this matter and show some leadership and commitment to his new portfolio by taking decisive action to fix the DIDS fiasco, created by John Moore, as soon as possible.

"Labor will continue to pursue this issue with the Government until a sensible decision on the future of DIDS is made," Dr Martin said.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.