Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence David Feeney and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Gai Brodtmann have called on the Abbott Government to reject its Commission of Audit recommendations to outsource the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
“The proposal to outsource DSTO is simply absurd,” Mr Feeney said.
“DSTO is engaged in highly sensitive and often classified research. There is enormous risk in outsourcing this work.
“DSTO has invented some remarkable technology – the black box flight recorder, over-the-horizon radar and the NULKA anti-ship missile decoy to name only a few.
“Already, DSTO partners with some leading private sector defence businesses where appropriate, but the idea that the entire DSTO could be outsourced is a dangerous nonsense.”
Ms Brodtmann raised concerns about the potential loss of almost 2,500 specialist jobs.
“DSTO employs some of the most highly skilled, highly specialised public servants in the country,” Ms Brodtmann said.
“These are scientists, engineers, technicians who come from all over Australia to work for DSTO.
“Outsourcing DSTO would not only lead to job losses, but would also mean losing this significant national security capability and specialist skill set from the public sector, and possibly from Australia all together.
“Outsourcing our critical defence intelligence capability would be a broken promise by Tony Abbott and more proof of his Government’s twisted priorities.”