Australian defense department to cut jobs under reform plan

15:29, April 16, 2010      

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Australian Defense department secretary Ian Watts said on Friday there would be job losses in areas such as administration and back office functions as the department will move ahead with its Strategic Reform Program (SRP).

"But these changes will be carefully managed and reductions will be managed not just against a background of overall growth but through retraining and repositioning staff," Watts told Australian Associated Press.

Defense head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said defense was looking to lift uniformed numbers by 3,000, most in the army.

However, the reform program will envisage "civilianising" 500- 600 military positions from the defense support workforce. It also aims to convert some 700 contractor positions in areas such as information technology and base support to cheaper public service positions.

Defense travel has been targeted for reforms, including economy air travel within Australia and greater use of video-conferencing to avoid travel where possible.

"We are doing all of the sensible things, and already we have reaped significant savings in travel," Houston said.

But he drew the line at barring business class flights for officials traveling big distances, such as to attend North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conferences in Brussels.

"It's very important in those circumstances that we look after our people and that they travel business class. Any notion that we should go economy in those circumstances would be unreasonable," Houston said.

Australian Defense department aims to boost efficiency, cut waste and reform the department's culture to save 20 billion Australian dollars (18.6 billion U.S. dollars) over a decade.

Source: Xinhua


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