Standing up for Canberra

Short-sighted Budget creates uncertainty for Defence

Yesterday’s short-sighted Budget failed to fix the cuts, broken promises and uncertainty that has plagued Defence under the Abbott Government.

Abbott’s Budget only adds to the uncertainty facing Defence.

It fails to fund any additional defence equipment or capability for our defence personnel in 2015-16.

It fails to provide a clear path to the Abbott Government’s much-promised increase in defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP.

“… so long as the Budget remains in disrepair, the prospects of attaining 2% will remain uncertain”

Mark Thomson, ASPI Senior Analyst – 13 May 2015

This reckless mismanagement of the Defence portfolio is creating uncertainty for Australian defence industry and workers.

The Abbott Government has already sent the contracts for Navy’s two new supply ships offshore, undermining Australia’s shipbuilding industry and putting jobs at risk.

Yesterday saw another 80 jobs cut from BAE in Williamstown.  Yet this Government has continually failed to provide a clear plan for Australian shipbuilding.

In another blow to Australian shipbuilding, the Abbott Government remains committed to breaking its promise to build 12 submarines in Adelaide.

To save his own job, the Prime Minister has invented a ‘competitive evaluation process’ that his own Government cannot explain and industry does not understand.

Only Federal Labor has an unequivocal commitment to build, maintain and sustain the next generation of submarines in Australia.

Yesterday the Defence Minister had the hide to claim that the Government’s backflip on ADF pay showed its commitment to our service personnel and their families.

The only party that has cut the pay and conditions of our defence force personnel is the Coalition.

Only after a concerted campaign from Labor, cross bench Senators and the defence community did the Abbott Government reverse the unfair pay cut it offered ADF personnel last year.

The government has also refused to back date the pay increase to the start of the ADF Workplace Remuneration Arrangement, which came into effect on 6 November 2014.

Yesterday’s Budget also indicates a further 1,150 job cuts to Defence’s civilian workforce, on top of the 2,400 defence civilian jobs it has already slashed.

This is despite the Government’s own First Principles Review calling for civilian cuts to stop.

“We recommend that the focus on public service reductions as the primary efficiency mechanism for Defence cease”

First Principles Review – 1 April 2015

The Abbott Government’s chaotic, short-sighted and dysfunctional approach to Defence policy must end.