Standing up for Canberra

Commission of Audit targets civilians in defence

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Gai Brodtmann has today called on the Abbott Government to rule out massive cuts to the number of civilian defence personnel that support the Australian Defence Force.

“Tony Abbott’s Commission of Audit has recommended reducing the staff at Defence headquarters in Canberra back to 1998 levels, which means cutting over 2,100 jobs,” Ms Brodtmann said.

“The report ignores the fact that over the last ten years, under successive governments, there has been a deliberate decision to civilianise close to 1,000 ADF positions, helping the Department run more efficiently and cost effectively.

“Massive cuts to civilian defence staff will be felt by the entire ADF.

“Civilian defence staff are vital to the overall capability of the ADF, and include highly skilled, highly specialised staff.”

Secretary of Defence Dennis Richardson illustrated this point when he said:

Try telling someone in Special Operations Command that a civilian in the Australian Signals Directorate is ‘back-end’ and, by implication, not particularly essential to the task in hand. Try telling a fighter pilot that civilian engineers and technicians are not essential to their operational capability. Try telling ADF personnel on operations that civilians responsible for their pay and allowances are less than essential. (Speech to ASPI Dinner, 12 November 2013.)