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Australia Launches Defense Procurement Review

The Hon. Greg Combet MP, the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, today announced that a review of Defence procurement and sustainment will be conducted by Mr David Mortimer AO.

“The announcement of this Review fulfils Labor’s election commitment to undertake a formal evaluation of the effectiveness of ongoing reforms to the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO),” Mr Combet said.

Those reforms were implemented following the 2003 Review of Defence Procurement led by Mr Malcolm Kinnaird AO.

“There have been some high-profile problem projects in the area of Defence procurement and the Government is committed to avoiding a repeat of past problems through an ongoing reform program,” Mr Combet said.

Mr Combet, in his role as Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement, has been assigned the task of developing a future program of reform for the DMO by the Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP.

“The Review will consider further potential reforms to the acquisition and through-life support of defence equipment. It will also make recommendations on initiatives to further enhance delivery of capability to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the most efficient and cost-effective manner,” Mr Combet said.

“The Government is fully committed to ensuring that the DMO is subject to continual reforms to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. The reforms underway in the DMO have been working, but this review will highlight areas where more can be done.

“For example, I would like the review to examine how DMO can continue to develop its commercial orientation and become more business-like in its operations.

“The recent reappointment of Dr Stephen Gumley as the Chief Executive Officer of the DMO was critical to the success of the reform program given his background, experience and performance in this area.”

Dr Gumley will be responsible to the Government for the implementation of the future program of reforms within DMO, including any reforms that emanate from this review.

Mr Combet also expressed his thanks to Mr Mortimer for agreeing to undertake the review.

“I am confident that Mr Mortimer is the right person for this job, and I am happy with the calibre of support being provided by the DMO.”

Mr David Mortimer AO, is currently Chairman of Leighton Holdings and Australia Post. Mr Mortimer has also been the Chairman of the Defence Procurement Advisory Board since 2004 and is ideally suited to lead this Review.

Mr Mortimer will be supported by a Review team headed by Major General A.P. (Tony) Fraser. Major General Fraser is currently Head of Helicopter Systems Division in the DMO and has a strong operational background and experience in defence procurement.

It is expected that Mr Mortimer will report to the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement within a period of 12 to 14 weeks. Mr Combet will then consider the report before making his recommendations to the Minister for Defence.

The review welcomes submissions of up to 10,000 words from interested groups and individuals. The deadline for submissions is Friday 6 June 2008.

Defence Procurement and Sustainment Review