Cuts in cadet program a loss

Army Reserve Forces Parade Cadets and Staff from 225 ACU Murwillumbah at Murwillumbah of Photo Crystal Spencer Tweed Daily News.d125197
Army Reserve Forces Parade Cadets and Staff from 225 ACU Murwillumbah at Murwillumbah of Photo Crystal Spencer Tweed Daily News.d125197 Crystal Spencer

GOVERNMENT plans to cut funding to army cadet units have raised fears the cadet system will fail and the country's future leaders will be lost.

The federal government plans to reduce the Cadet Forces Allowance for staff from nearly 50 days to just over 33 days.

Local army cadet training officer Chris Chrisostomos said depending on how long the planned restrictions remain in place, the government's proposed cut backs would result in a loss of continuity and see the number of cadet Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) plummet.

The cut backs would affect the remuneration of adults who supervise cadets and would force families to spend a lot more money to support the cadets who aimed to attend courses which allowed them to be promoted.

"We're always talking how young people are out of control and have no direction," Mr Chrisostomos said.

"Army cadets give young people discipline and the units are nurseries for the defence forces.

"My main concern is that we won't have a flow on of new leaders."

In response to a question without notice from the federal member for Bradfield, Liberal Paul Fletcher, in the lower house on Thursday September 20, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government was planning for an enhanced future for the Australian Defence Force Cadets and not a reduced one.

"We understand their importance to generating the next great generation of future leaders," PM Gillard said.

Local National Party candidate Matthew Fraser said the government was more interested in sending money overseas than in spending money on local issues such as the cadet program.

The government was about to hand over $320 million to South Pacific Islands to support women achieve leadership roles and would spend $500 million on running an immigrants' detention centre in Nauru.

"The government is cutting funding in the wrong places," Mr Fraser said.

Local MP Justine Elliot said "claims the Australian Army Cadet supervision is being cut by 30 per cent are untrue.

"Claims that navy and Air Force Cadet units will be amalgamated and may be closed due to sweeping or widespread budget cuts are also untrue," Mrs Elliot said.

Topics:  murwillumbah

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