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Leopard tanks should be delivered free.

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The Hon Bob Baldwin MP

Federal Member for Paterson

28 October 2008


Paterson MP Bob Baldwin has slammed the Rudd Labor Government’s decision to charge the Maitland RSL sub branch $10,000 for the delivery of a de-commissioned Leopard tank.

The previous Howard Government announced last year the Leopard fleet, which was to be replaced with the new Abrams tank after a 30-year history of serving the Australian Army, would be gifted to veteran and historical organisations.

“The Department of Defence was inundated with requests for the decommissioned tanks and in recognition for the contribution of veterans to defending Australia, its interest and our values, they were given priority in the distribution,” said Mr Baldwin.

“A re-elected Coalition Government was committed to providing Maitland RSL sub-branch with a tank and there were never any strings attached.

“The then-Defence Minister Brendan Nelson was advised the cost to Defence to decommission and deliver the tanks to community groups would be in the vicinity of $20 million.

“To now turn around and say the “gift’ will incur a $10,000 delivery charge is a slap in the face to these veterans.”

Mr Baldwin said while the ability to maintain the memorial was always part of the criteria, it would be ridiculous to suggest the organisations had to pay for the delivery when Defence clearly has the capabilities to do so.

“Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon should remember how generous he was to give his mate a lift on a military aircraft at taxpayers’ expense and cough up the $10,000 to ensure Maitland has the tank which would be a daily reminder of the contribution made by those men and women that served - and continue to serve - Australia in uniform,” said Mr Baldwin.

Media enquiries: Shelley Mexon - 0421 443 401

Bob Baldwin - 0419 694 620 Electorate: PO Box 156 Raymond Terrace NSW 2324, 35 Sturgeon Street Raymond Terrace. Phone (02) 4983 1330 Canberra: Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone (02) 6277 4200