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No Accountability For Government Botch-Up



Acting Defence Spokesperson

31 January 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

No Accountability For Government Botch-Up

Despite a damning Auditor-General’s report no one is being held accountable for the botched changes which have badly damaged the Defence Force, Labour’s acting Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff, says.

“Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman refuses to take responsibility for changes which left the Defence Force with the lowest morale and the highest rates of attrition in the history of the Force.

“When he boasts about attrition falling to 17.7 per cent, more than double the rate in 2009 and four times that of the Police Force, it shows you just how out of touch he is.

“The fact is that by demanding the $400 million in annual savings, the Government forced the Defence Force to take ill-thought out actions which have caused unnecessary damage.

“The Chief of the Defence Force himself admitted that an attrition rate of 22.6 per cent in the Navy was ‘unsustainable’.

“It is not ‘old news’ or ‘history’ as Jonathan Coleman pretends. The damage is continuing and will take years to recover from. Many of those who have left were highly skilled and experienced, and cannot be immediately replaced.

“Brand new patrol vessels are being left tied up at the wharf because there is a shortage of skilled crews to take them to sea.

“Mr Coleman has his head in the clouds if he believes morale in the force is fine. Last year 40 per cent indicated an intention to leave, according to the documents supplied to the Defence Select Committee.

“With no pay rise for four-and-a-half years, arbitrary dismissal notices, rents which have been massively increased and a lack of respect and reciprocal loyalty shown to Defence Force people, it’s no wonder they have been leaving in droves,” Phil Goff said.



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