Defence accepts less, ACTU wants more
THE global financial crisis has forced the Defence Department to shelve plans to buy billions of dollars’ of military equipment, including a new $5 billion maritime surveillance system. The economic downturn will also mean the navy will not exercise the option to acquire a fourth air warfare destroyer worth $2 billion, and could force a one-year delay in plans to spend $16 billion on 100 F-35 joint strike fighters. While Defence is putting the final touches to its long-awaited white paper, the rapidly deteriorating global economy could dictate further delays in its publication beyond the May budget, according to senior government sources yesterday. I have no qualms about defence carrying some of the needed cuts in expenditure but I think it should be across the board. Not so says ACTU leader Sharron Burrow.On the same front page of The Australian that announce a tightening in defence expenditure Sharron says paid Maternity leave is still plausable The original cost of the scheme was put at about $525million a year, with taxpayers to foot $450 million and business to cover $75 million. I promise you, these figures are rubbery and presented to get the idea passed. It will cost a lot more and I’m sure business are just queuing up to fork out $75 m or more from their already depleted profit margins. And I don’t know what this means.
“If indeed you can’t afford it in one hit, then talk to Australian women,” Ms Burrow said yesterday.And say what? Planned Defence cuts are for decades ahead so ‘phasing’ in extra paid leave doesn’t cut it. Paid maternity leave is something the country could consider in good harvest years; not in the middle of a recession with possibly worse to come
“If it needs to be phased in over a couple of years, that’s a discussion that can be had, but don’t make women wait.”We’re all waiting Sharron.