Statement: Labor’s Surface Fleet Review

Tuesday 20 February 2024

After more than 300 days of waiting, the Opposition welcomes the Government’s response to the long-awaited Surface Fleet Review, the ambition to grow the Royal Australian Navy and the investment into Western Australia’s industrial base.

There are, however, serious flaws in Labor’s superficial plan, which the Opposition is yet to be briefed on, despite formal requests.

The Albanese Government talks up larger ships, and a larger fleet, but there is no larger strategy and the money in the forward estimates doesn't cover the cuts that Labor has already made to Defence.

The truth is that Richard Marles has once again lost at the Expenditure Review Committee table to Jim Chalmers, Penny Wong and Katy Gallagher.

Under Labor’s plan, we won’t see a ship in the water until 2031. We’ll see HMAS Anzac permanently retired, with no replacement until next decade.

We note the broken promise to the South Australian people with the cancellation of the three Hunter class frigates, costing local jobs, and causing further uncertainty for Australian defence industry.

Morale is at an all-time low, separation rates from the Australian Defence Force are still too high – with separation rates from Navy at 8.2 per cent – and there is no plan on how we will meet personnel targets, let alone crew an expanded surface fleet.

Let’s not forget Labor’s destruction during their last six years in Government, where they failed to commission a single naval vessel from an Australian shipyard and drove Defence spending to record lows.

Labor’s surface fleet review is a repeat of history. No new money. Cut to capability. Deferral of tough decisions.

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Andrew Hastie
    published this page in Latest News 2024-02-23 13:34:08 +0800