Senior Defence Force personnel have confirmed to Senate Estimates that the Coalition has inherited an Australian Defence Force that is strong and well equipped to confront future security challenges.
Across the ADF, Labor's defence acquisitions and planning were supported at this week's Senate Estimates.
Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, said Labor’s decision to purchase 12 Growlers was a significant improvement in Air Force and ADF capability that would provide significant benefits now and into the future:
“For future operations of the Defence Force, rather than just the Air Force, it is a significant leap in capability in giving us a force-level electronic warfare capability. Its use is not just in air combat. It can be used across a spectrum of operations that we do and it will be very important to support the joint amphibious capability that we are developing.”
Deputy Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Davies, said that the mix of airlift capability provided by six C-17s, twelve C-130Js and ten C-27J Spartans will allow the air force to:
“Carry bigger loads and more differential loads and we can carry them further, faster and more efficiently.”
Deputy Chief of Army, Major General Peter Gilmore, told Senate Estimates that the LAND 121 program, which was fully funded by the Labor Government and will provide 7,500 new vehicles for the Army over the next decade, will deliver:
“Better safety, better force protection and a better payload—a better way of doing business.”
Head Land Systems, Major General Paul McLachlan, added:
“The capabilities of the new vehicles that we are getting are just a quantum step forward… There is a lot of excitement about getting that rolled out there and replacing what is a very, very old and ageing fleet.”
Major General Gilmore noted the progress being made towards the development of Multirole Combat Brigades under Plan Beersheba, saying that it brings a much more effective structure to the Army and is:
“The best way to be able to react to a multitude of contingencies.”
Commander Joint Health Command, Rear Admiral Robyn Walker, confirmed that Labor’s plan to deliver improved healthcare to ADF families is on track to be delivered by 1 January and no changes have been made to this program since the election.
Rear Admiral Walker also confirmed that the Labor Government made important changes to the program so that it meets the needs of ADF families:
“From 1 January next year all ADF dependants who are registered for the program will be able to receive any gap payments when accessing any services through a GP that has a Medicare item number.”
This evidence from senior Defence Force personnel confirms that the Coalition inherits a strong ADF that is well equipped to meet the challenges of the future.
The Department did not shed any light on how the Government plans to match Labor’s commitment to increase Defence spending to 2% of GDP.