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Air Force faces serious staffing crisis

Annabel Young National Member of Parliament

3 November 2000

Air Force faces serious staffing crisis

Claims by Defence Force insiders indicating another Air Force staffing crisis are deeply disturbing, National MP Annabel Young said today.

"Last time round the Government paid the pilots to stay, this time they may have to pay every other level within the Air Force.

"It's understood that a crisis meeting was scheduled for today, for the Air Force to consider critical manning or lump-sums to staff who agree to stay on.

Under 'critical manning' the Ministry of Defence can impose a ban on staff leaving for up to two years, to ensure adequate personnel are on hand for essential defence purposes.

"I am told there is only one specialist Orion instructor left, with another instructor moved over from other aircraft to take up the slack. And the Hercules squadron has 5 instructors - 4 of whom are currently working out their notice before moving on to other jobs.

"It's clear that the loss of morale after the decision to cancel the F16 deal has not been addressed. At that time pilots were given lump sum payments to stay on.

"It now looks like the Government may have to consider doling out more cheques, or forcing staff to stay on. That shows the Government did not solve the problem the first time around, it merely stalled it off for a few more months.

"The Government must find a real cure, rather than just applying the inadequate Band-Aid of another round of lump sum payouts," Miss Young said.

Ends

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