Minister for Defence Materiel – Statement on appointment as Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today said it was a privilege to have worked with the dedicated men and women of the Australian Defence Force.

“My top priority as Minister for Defence Materiel has been to ensure our ADF personnel have the equipment they need – particularly our soldiers in Afghanistan,” Mr Clare said.

“The equipment our soldiers have now is very different to what they had 12 months ago. This includes new body armour, new combat uniforms and longer range machine guns. We have also upgraded our Bushmaster vehicles in Afghanistan to make them even safer.”

Mr Clare paid tribute to the leadership of Defence Minister Stephen Smith, the Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley and his predecessor Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the Secretary of Defence Duncan Lewis and his predecessor Dr Ian Watt.

He also paid tribute to the work of Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Warren King, his predecessor Dr Stephen Gumley and all the men and women who work in the DMO and the entire Defence industry.

“In the past 12 months, we’ve made a number of improvements in Defence,” Mr Clare said.

These include:

1) A record number of Government approvals – This year the Government has approved more Defence projects than any Government in the past decade – 46 project approvals worth more than $6 billion.

2) Implementing reform – This year Mr Smith and Mr Clare announced 42 reforms to improve the way Defence purchases, maintains and disposes of military equipment. A dozen of these reforms have now been implemented. Implementation of the rest is underway. The Australian Strategic and Policy Institute has described these reforms as a “package of measured and sensible reforms.”

3) Delivered new equipment – This includes 24 new Super Hornet fighter jets, the missile defence system for our Navy frigates and upgrades to our Bushmaster vehicles in Afghanistan to make them even safer.

4) Fixing problems – This time last year, the Navy had no amphibious ships available. Now they have three to assist with humanitarian and disaster relief. In the past 12 months, the Projects of Concern list has also been cut in half. At the start of the year there were 12 projects on the list, there are now six.

Mr Clare said he looked forward to his new responsibility as Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice.

“This is a big responsibility – working with the Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the Australian Crime Commission and other agencies to keep Australians safe,” Mr Clare said.

“The most important responsibility of Government is to keep its citizens safe. That has driven the work I have done in Defence and it will drive the work I will do in this new portfolio.”

 Media contact: Korena Flanagan – 0418 251 316

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