Old 7th Oct 2013, 09:17
  #8711 (permalink)  
Captain Sand Dune
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Victoria
Age: 59
Posts: 984
About bl**dy time too.........
THE Defence bureaucracy will be hit with even more job cuts as the Abbott Government moves to place the $26 billion defence budget back on an even keel.
Defence Minister David Johnston said the defence *bureaucracy's 23,000 public servants was far too many.
He also admitted that his government had inherited a huge financial "mess'' and his aim was to maximise savings and "churn" the money back into capability.
About 7500 bureaucrats work for the defence-buying agency the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), which costs taxpayers about $800 million a year to run. Its total annual purchasing budget is about $9 billion.
In Opposition Senator Johnston was a vocal critic of the DMO and its rapidly *expanding staff.
Speaking at the Navy's *Pacific 13 Seapower conference yesterday, he said most job cuts would come from natural attrition without *affecting capability, but he hinted at even deeper cuts.
"We are methodically going to trim them [jobs] back,'' he said.
"I believe 23,000 public servants is too heavy.''
The main talking point at the naval exposition yesterday was the so-called shipbuilding "valley of death'' where the gap in orders prior to a boom after 2022 could cause yards to close and thousands of jobs to be lost.
Industry figures warned that D-day for the industry was fast approaching and that unless a decision was taken by the end of the year to build something to "bridge'' the gap job losses would begin in 2014.
Shipbuilding firms have been lobbying the new minister to try and convince him to bring forward the replacement patrol boat project to bridge the valley.
A leading contender for the Armidale Class replacement could be a BAE Systems patrol vessel in service with several navies, including the Royal Thai Navy vessel HTMS Krabi currently in Sydney for the International Fleet Review.
BAE's Williamstown shipyard in Melbourne is at high risk once work on current ships runs out late next year. Without new work skilled workers will be laid off from mid-2014.
Work for new patrol boats (Pacific Patrol boats used by island nations are due for replacement as well) could be shared between Williamstown, Austral in WA, Incat in Tasmania and Forgacs in Newcastle.
According to an industry source there is no time to waste and the normal DMO tendering procedures, that can take years to negotiate, would make it too late.
"We don't have 18 months to wait,'' one source said.
The government is also examining plans to move some of the final eight or so blocks for the Air Warfare Destroyer project from Adelaide or Newcastle to Williamstown to keep workers employed.
Senator Johnston said the Coalition government was determined to avoid the "fits and starts" approach to naval shipbuilding.
"When we stop building ships we make it much harder to restart again," Senator Johnston said.
Dozens of companies are displaying their wares at the Pacific 2013 Maritime Exposition, which is being attended by thousands of sailors from Australia and around the world.
After that he can start on cutting the numbers of senior officers who seem to create jobs for themselves to justify their existence and therefore lots of unnecessary work for others.
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