Australian Mines Tap Navy For Its Best Engineers

China’s hunger for is having an unintended consequence: Leaving the Australian navy understaffed as service members leave for better paying jobs in the mines. From the Financial Times:

Chinese demand for commodities has triggered a crisis in the Australian navy, whose submarine fleet is suffering from a critical crew shortage as skilled technicians are lured into higher-paying jobs by the booming mining industry.

Joel Fitzgibbon, Australia’s defence minister, acknowledged yesterday that the navy was suffering an acute manpower problem.

…Brendan Nelson, the opposition leader and a former defence minister, said uncompetitive wages were behind the navy’s struggle to attract submariners.

“If you’re an engineer on a sub and you’re pulling A$80,000 [$73,000, €48,000, £36,500] a year and you’ve got three kids to feed – [and] if you’ve got somebody at the gate of the base offering A$130,000 to drive a truck, I mean, seriously, what are you going to do?” he said.

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