INDEPENDENT NEWS

LAV Report Shows Minister's Lack Of Leadership

Published: Wed 22 Aug 2001 01:31 PM
The Auditor-General's report on the LAV3 acquisition confirms what the ACT Party has been saying, that the tender process adopted by the army didn't meet the standards required for a major government purchase.
"As the LAV3 is the biggest government purchase under the Labour/Alliance coalition, the report is an indictment on the Minister and the Cabinet," ACT leader Richard Prebble said.
"The report shows the government could have got cheaper vehicles if it had just bought the standard production LAV3, without going to tender.
"However, ACT's advisors say the whole idea of buying 105 armoured cars is suspect.
"The LAV3 is such a heavy vehicle that it would be ideal if we were going to invade Russia but it's of little use to the army in rugged areas such as East Timor, the Solomons and Bougainville.
"ACT's advisors say the most cost-effective option would be to refurbish the existing M113 vehicles which are still operated by armies around the world. The Australians have recently refurbished their M113s.
"Light tanks, properly maintained and regularly refurbished, can be operated almost indefinitely.
"If we'd refurbished our existing vehicles, it would have released $600 million for other defence priorities.
"Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Auditor-General's report is that it shows the Defence Minister isn't providing leadership and lacks managerial experience. A competent Minister would have raised the questions which the Auditor-General's report highlights.
"Mark Burton is turning out to be a poor and, for the electorate, an expensive Minister," Mr Prebble said.
ENDS

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