Navy fears being left high and dry by resources boom


Senior Member
Oct 5, 2009
Navy fears being left high and dry by resources boom

THE Royal Australian Navy is keeping a wary eye on the mining sector as the resources recovery gains momentum and competition increases for scarce skilled workers.

The high-paying mines have enticed away many Western Australia-based submariners in past booms, leaving the navy seriously short of the specialists in critical trades areas.

Navy chief Rus Crane told The Australian he was keeping a close eye on submarine crews to ensure that did not happen again.

The mining industry and the modern armed forces increasingly find themselves searching for recruits in the same talent pool. "We are all dealing with a national shortage of skilled engineers," Vice-Admiral Crane said.

The navy has six Collins-class submarines but a year ago it was so short of personnel in some vital areas that it could send only two of them out on operations.

Vice-Admiral Crane said that by the end of this month, three submarines would be at sea and a fourth full crew would be in training.

That was partly due to a successful recruiting campaign, he said.

And about 60 highly trained naval personnel had come back from other industries because they missed the service life.

"In the past, our processes were not terribly friendly to people who wanted to come back, but we've changed that," Vice-Admiral Crane said.

"In that sense, the navy now is a lot different to what it was 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.'

The navy could not offer the same salaries as mining companies, he said, but it could offer its own lifestyle and a strong sense of teamwork that sailors who left it often missed.

The global financial crisis had helped the recruiting effort, he added, but the navy had put a big effort into improving pay and service conditions generally.

Wage rates had been improved by rewarding personnel for the skills they developed rather than just paying them according to the rank they held.

That meant that highly skilled sailors could earn the sort of money that was once paid only to officers.


Sikkimese Saber
Senior Member
Aug 20, 2010
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^^ As if someone is going to attack them! Who will attack a bunch of descendants of criminals and dacoits?

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