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Australia to Advance Procurement Projects (May 10)

The Howard Government's Defence procurement reforms have allowed $300 million to be returned to the Defence Budget within the forward estimates period for acquiring projects to strengthen Australia's Defences.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said improvements in procurement have allowed the Government to reschedule allocations from future years and deliver key enhanced capability to Defence.

"The efficiencies have been made through improved decision making processes, better project management scheduling, budgeting and control as well as industry meeting its commitment on price, capability and schedule," Senator Hill said.

This reinstated funding will support major Defence capability projects including:

--Acquiring longer range stand-off Air-to-Surface weapons for the F/A-18 and AP-3C Orion aircraft to improve our strike capability.

--Upgrading the F/A-18's Electronic Warfare Self-Protection (EWSP) to safeguard the aircraft against emerging threats.

--Progressing the 'long lead time' and sub-systems to be incorporated into the Air Warfare Destroyers, such as the AEGIS Integrated Combat System.

--Acquiring Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to improve airborne surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition to support land and selected maritime operations.

Completing early design work for the procurement of two Amphibious Support Ships for the new amphibious deployment and sustainment system.

Since the White Paper was announced in 2000, the Government has approved more than 139 major projects, or phases of projects, with funding of around $22 billion.

"When in service, these and other important capabilities will ensure that our Service men and women have the necessary resources to effectively carry out the varied tasks we require of them to protect Australia's national interests," Senator Hill said

"In close cooperation with the new Capability Development Group within the Defence Department and the defence industry sector, the DMO is well down the path to implementing the recommendations made by the Kinnaird Review into Defence Procurement."

Senator Hill said the DMO was on track to meet the target of becoming a prescribed agency on 1 July 2005, which was one of ten major recommendations of the Kinnaird Review. The new arrangements will allow DMO to become a more business-like organisation and achieve best practice in complex programme management, Senator Hill said.

$300 Million for Key Defence Capability