Yet again civilian Defence staff are fearing for their job security after reports over the weekend that up to 3,000 Defence Materiel Organisation staff may be in line to lose their jobs. Last Friday the defence minister was reported as saying that the DMO had shortcomings. We have heard reports again and again that the Commission of Audit will recommend at least partial privatisation of the defence department's procurement arm.
The Abbott government has had the Commission of Audit's interim report for almost a month but it is not released its recommendations, so who knows what the future is for this agency. All I do know is that DMO staff have been told there has been no decision made yet about their futures. The uncertainty is wreaking havoc on staff morale and the morale of my constituents. The Canberra Times has reported that DMO managers are complaining about private companies sniffing around their staff in anticipation of these job losses.
DMO is home to highly skilled specialist staff. They are dedicated public servants who have chosen to serve their country, their government and their democracy rather than taking higher paid jobs in the private sector. My will concern is that when the job cuts come we will lose these highly skilled staff from the Public Service and will lose them for good. Minister Johnston has said that he wants to see excellence and cost-effectiveness in DMO, but how does he think we will achieve excellence if we lose our best staff? The Abbott government needs to come clean on the future of these staff and that of their families.