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Australian Defence Force injury rates highlight need for more personnel.



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THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE FEDERAL MEMBER FOR BRAND

24 September 2004

ADF INJURY RATES HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR MORE PERSONNEL

Labor is seriously concerned by today's report in The Australian about the severe injury toll in the Australian Defence Force.

While the high operational tempo over the last five years is a major reason for the high rates of injuries, critical shortages of key personnel are also important.

This is why Labor's plan to increase the number of Army personnel is so necessary.

The ADF is still around 2,000 short of the White Paper target of 54,000 personnel.

Many personnel are forced to undertake back-to-back deployments, increasing the risk of injury.

Labor's plan to raise an additional infantry battalion will increase the number of personnel, help meet the White Paper target, and reduce the operational pressure on the personnel already in the ADF.

In contrast to Labor's positive plan to increase personnel numbers, the Howard Government still hasn't released any Defence policies of its own.

A Latham Labor Government will maintain an efficiently managed Defence organisation that has the personnel, equipment and skills that it needs to protect Australia's national interests.

This is the best way to ensure Australia's national security now and into the future.

For further details contact: Michael Boyle 0408 666 078