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Scott again fails to produce Reserves plan.

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Media Release

Laurie Ferguson, MP

Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Shadow Minister for Forestry and Conservation

Federal Member for Reid


16 December 1999


Scott Again Fails To Produce Reserves Plan

With Cabinet going into recess, the C oalition has again failed to produce its promised clear and public plan for the future of the Defence Reserves.

Shadow Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Laurie Ferguson MP, has today challenged the Government to explain the delay.

'There is growing concern about the Government's failure to address the need to rebuild the Army Reserve and better define its contribution to our national Defence effort,' Mr Ferguson said.

'On Anzac Day Defence Minister John Moore said on Meet the Press that he had commissioned a review of the Reserves, to be completed by 30 June.

'When the Government failed to deliver on this commitment, his junior Minister Bruce Scott then promised Parliament on 11 August that he would 'shortly' release a discussion paper outlining 'a clear and public plan for integration of reserves into our defence capability'.'

'In August Mr Scott said his proposed discussion paper was 'much overdue'.

'Four months later, with recruitment massively below target and the Coalition seemingly making defence policy on the run, the Reserves are no clearer as to what the Government expects of them.

'Meanwhile the Government refuses to debate two Private Member's Bills introduced by the Leader of the Opposition.

'This is just not good enough.'

Minister Scott's broken promise to Parliament:

This issue [of employer support for reservist employees] will be considered and discussed in more depth in a public discussion paper that I have commissioned on reserves. The paper is to clearly describe the roles our res erve forces can play and what can be done to give them the ability to fill those roles.

This discussion paper is much overdue. It should have occurred in the early 1990s, well before the previous government began its program of reducing permanent numbers and therefore necessarily relying more on reserves. This government has not waited and let events overtake it on this matter. As we move towards a defence force of 50,000 permanent numbers, we will have a clear and public plan for integration of reserves into our defence capability, based on the discussion paper that I will release shortly for public debate.

•  Speech on Defence Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 1999, 11 August 1999, House Hansard p.8368.



jy  1999-12-17  10:43