‘2008 Defence Budget Briefing’ by
The Hon. Greg Combet MP,
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement
Canberra, May 15, 2008
I am pleased to be here in my role as the parliamentary secretary for defence procurement. I would like to outline for you a number of features of the defence budget announced on Tuesday.
In preparing the speech it did not escape me that explaining the defence budget in a speech is not only a technical challenge, it also has the potential to become a therapy for insomnia. So please stick with me while I get the task under way.
The starting point will be to highlight the headline issues concerning the defence budget - not only what the numbers are, but what the government is trying to achieve.
But many of you I expect are also interested in the issues that some of the commentators are beginning to focus on - the savings measures and how they have been reapplied, the reprogramming of some of the capability expenditure as well as some other issues.
I will comment on these matters, but I also wish to spend some time on my own portfolio area of defence procurement and sustainment, and the budget as it relates to the DMO.
If anyone’s still awake after that we will hopefully have time for some questions.
Firstly some comments about the context in which the budget has been framed. The government has outlined three main priorities for defence in 2008/09. They are:
1. Operations, including United Nations peacekeeping, regional assistance missions, border protection and domestic security operations;
2. The new defence White Paper, which will lead to clear policy guidance for the defence portfolio;
3. Efficient and effective administration through defence reform.
With these priorities, the government is seeking to ensure that our strategic objectives are aligned with our capability program and that this is appropriately funded.
We are also determined to ensure that every dollar within defence is spent as efficiently as possible and that every dollar contributes to the achievement of our strategic objectives.
These may appear self-evident goals, but it is our belief that they were not effectively pursued by the previous government. We cannot, for example, afford to waste more than one billion dollars on Seasprite helicopters. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full text of the speech, on the Australian DoD website (HTML format)