Government reveals reason behind unpopular army decision

You might remember reading about how Australia’s new army dress uniform is now being made in China.

If you missed the news, here’s a quick recap.

The new dress uniforms are being made in China under a $9 million contract with Australian Defence Apparel that was signed last year.

You might be wondering why?

Well, the Defence Minister has told Parliament why – and it all cost comes down to cost.

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Senator Marise Payne said having the uniforms made in China was the best value for money

“Australian Defence Apparel’s tender was assessed as the best value for money with the tendered price representing an estimated saving of over 18 per cent over the prices at that time,” she said.

“Australian Defence Apparel has estimated that manufacture in Australia would be triple the cost of the contract as it stands.”

The jacket and pants of the army uniform are being made in China, while the traditional Akubra slouch hat and RM Williams parade boots are still being made here in Australia.

But the Opposition isn’t happy, accusing the Defence Minister of failing to explain why the uniforms can’t be manufactured in Bendigo where Australian Defence Apparel is based using Australian materials.

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“Minister Payne told the Senate that the Government had signed the contract on the 30th of April 2015 with Australian Defence Apparel to ship the work to manufacture the dress uniform to China,” Labor Senator Kim Carr said in statement.

“Just 20 days later Minister Payne had the front to visit Australian Defence Apparel in Bendigo speaking to workers about their high skill work with the full knowledge that the work for the new dress uniform would be sent offshore.”

The Chinese uniform contract has outraged fellow Senators Nick Xenophon and ex-military Jacqui Lambie.

Senator Nick Xenophon described it as a “disgrace”, while Jacqui Lambie posted a photo of the new uniforms on Facebook with the caption:

“Say goodbye to more Aussie jobs!! That’s the liberal parties answer to saving a few dollars $$$$”

What do you think? Is the Defence Minister’s explanation good enough? Or is having the uniforms made in China a good way to save money?