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Ready reserves to hit the scrap heap under the Coalition

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Minister for Defence

Parliament HouseCanberra ACT 2600Telephone: (06)1 2777800 Fax: (06) 273418 MIN 28/93

Senator the Hon. Robert Ray


The Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Ray, today slammed proposals by the Coalition to abolish the highly successful Ready Reserve Scheme.

"The Coalition's plan to dismantle the Ready Reserve scheme without the opportunity of evaluating its success is

scandalous," Senator Ray said.

"The Ready Reserves significantly increase our capacity to deploy well trained personnel in shorter time scales than is practicable with the current reserves.."

"With a successful Ready Reserve force in place the ADF will have seven well trained and well equipped battalions rather than the six battalions promised by the Coalition," Senator Ray said.

"The scheme, which has been operating for just over a year, is an outstanding success," Senator Ray said.

"Recruiting targets in all three services have been met, including the additional 300 Ready Reserve places allocated in the last Federal Budget as part of its job creation plan."

"A further measure of its success is the interest the scheme has attracted from overseas. Senior military officers from several countries have been to Australia to examine our scheme with a view to implementing it overseas."

The shadow Minister, Mr Downer, proposes to cut the Ready Reserves and return the Brisbane based 6 Brigade to an integrated Regular/Reserve Brigade.

The Coalition claims this change would cost only $5M.

Senator Ray said "Allowing for a three year phase in, a proper analysis shows the actual cost over the 1993-96 period would be some $63M."

"Under a Keating Labor Government this worthwhile scheme which provides a unique means for the ADF and the community to work together will continue - Under the Coalition it will be

destroyed," Senator Ray said. F

"On this issue, the Coalition are guilty of 1950's thinking,"

he said.

Contact: Karen Clark (03)655 2633