The story goes like this! Australia's armed forces have said that soldiers serving in combat zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan, or Timor Leste are permitted to buy their own combat boots from one of four approved providers in the event that the army issue combat boots are not suitable. The army has recognized that the current issue boot is no longer fit for purpose, particularly in the demanding combat zones that Australian troops find themselves in, and are developing a new boot.
In the interim, the army has said that soldiers may by their own boots and a good pair of boots could cost upwards of AUD 600, which seems like a small investment for what could conceivably be the difference between life and death, literally. Unfortunately, soldiers who do this will not be reimbursed for the cost of the boots they buy.
The Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Defence, Greg Combet, stated that the government's position is that the current issued boots are suitable. By the sounds of it he needs to get out a little more and talk to some people down at the Department of Defence because if these boots are so good then there seems to be no need to develop a new and improved pair!
For me, here is the cold hard reality, we are asking these young men and women to lay their lives on the line for us every single day they are in a combat zone and we are debating whether or not the government should reimburse these brave young men and women for a pair of boots, stupid! If you're not going to reimburse them directly then one would hope that a special provision within the tax law would allow these boots to be claimed back through the tax system.
I am definitely anti-war but I am pro-people. If we are going to send people into the line of fire then we have a responsibility to ensure that they are fully equipped and the equipment is fit for purpose. If not, then we must not send them into that danger, for me there are no ifs, buts, or maybes on this one!