The Royal Australian Navy has sent a delegation to Britain to investigate the plan, which would look to recruit some of the 5,000 Royal Navy staff due to lose their jobs over the next four years. The Australian navy would directly contact redundant sailors and offer them “career transition options”.
Australia’s Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, promised his British counterpart, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, that Australia will not recruit personnel needed by the British. But Royal Navy officers have told the Australians they were “very comfortable” with the plan.
“Navy has been closely consulting with the Royal Navy on options for RN personnel affected by the downsizing,” an Australian military spokesman said. "The RAN is presenting itself to personnel identified for redundancy as one of their career transition options — provided these personnel meet the RAN’s requirements. The Royal Navy is very comfortable with this approach.”
The Australian navy has struggled to fill positions in recent years, particularly skilled maintenance workers who have been lured by lucrative positions in the booming mining industry. The navy plans to specifically target British engineers to fill a shortage of about 200 workers.