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Tuesday, 23 May 1989
Page: 2430

Senator NEWMAN —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:

(i) the Minister for Defence (Mr Beazley) announced on 22 May 1989 that the 11 Chinooks at Amberley are to cease operation as of 1 July 1989 and are to be sold as a cost-saving measure,

(ii) the Chinook helicopters are the only ADF asset capable of lifting the Army's new 155 mm heavy artillery gun and the only means of placing medium artillery and heavy engineering equipment in close support to ground forces, and

(iii) the Chinooks could have their lives extended by 25-30 years with increased capability and halved maintenance costs if they joined the United States military program to upgrade 500 Chinooks at a cost of less than $10 million per helicopter;

(b) recognises that the Chinook helicopters possess an important and irreplaceable capability in supporting ground forces in addition to an important role in civil emergencies; and

(c) condemns the Government for its stupid decision to sacrifice defence capability to budgetary expediency.