Aust troops poorly equipped

Australia has hundreds of soldiers serving overseas in dangerous locations including Iraq, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

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Stephen Gumley, head of the Defence Materiel Organisation, sayd troops currently serving overseas had “missed out” on gear they should have received.

The admission came during a briefing to defence industry suppliers in Melbourne on June 23, the details of which are published in Fairfax newspapers today, which said they had obtained a secret recording of the briefing.

“We are going to let the troops down if we don’t improve the reliability, quality and safety of our equipment,” the papers quote Dr Gumley as saying on the recording.

“Frankly, I did not do a good enough job in this area (clothing and equipment) so we failed in that and I am going to fix it.”

Dr Gumley reportedly told the briefing that investigations had revealed that defence suppliers had falsified test results.

They had also employed Asian-based manufacturers despite promising to use Australian sub-contractors and lied about their ability to meet deadlines.

This meant that troops on operational deployments “missed out” on equipment.

The Australian government has previously denied any problem with the provisioning of troops.

The defence lobby has jumped on the latest revelations. The head of the Australia Defence Association says it shows the defence force system has broken down.

Neil James says troops who are now training to replace our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are often working with poor equipment.