An effectively functioning Australian Defence Organisation is a critical part of protecting and defending Australia’s national security interests.
The 2013 White Paper outlines an integrated and comprehensive reform program which will embed in Defence the significant and wide ranging reforms the Government has introduced.
The reform program builds on the Strategic Reform Program (SRP), which was announced in the 2009 Defence White Paper to underpin the modernisation of the Australian Defence Organisation.
This reform program has now been expanded to include the areas of individual personal and institutional accountability, budget processes, procurement and capability and Defence conduct and culture.
The SRP was introduced to comprehensively and fundamentally improve the management of Defence by making the organisation more efficient and effective, whilst delivering savings of around $20 billion over the decade to reinvest in Defence capability.
The SRP has delivered significant improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of Defence’s core activities, including ICT delivery, sustainment, procurement, workforce management and logistics. This has resulted in savings of $3.3 billion to the end of 2012-13. Important work to further improve the delivery of Defence’s logistics, ICT services and sustainment will continue, with further savings to be made.
The savings delivered so far by the SRP have been achieved under very challenging fiscal circumstances. This includes a contribution of $5.4 billion across the Forward Estimates from Defence in the 2012-13 Budget to support the Government’s broader fiscal strategy.
That contribution had no adverse impact on operations in Afghanistan, East Timor or the Solomon Islands. The provision of equipment to Defence personnel on operations was not adversely affected and there was no adverse impact on the number of military personnel in the Australian Defence Force.
This contribution did increase the level of Defence’s savings in travel, consultancies and the employment of Australian Public Servants, over and above that planned in the SRP.
Since 2009, the Government has also embarked on a substantially expanded reform program, as outlined in the White Paper. These reforms build on and enhance the SRP agenda. They include:
• reforms to strengthen personal and institutional accountability;
• reforms to improve Defence’s budget processes, estimation methods and underlying assumptions;
• personnel reforms, including removal of gender restrictions from combat roles;
• cultural reforms through the Pathway to Change, to ensure the ADF and broader Defence organisation reflects contemporary community standard and attitudes; and
• further procurement and capability reforms to improve the delivery of Defence capability projects.
These significant developments since 2009 mean that Defence’s reform program needs to be refreshed and refocused.
The 2013 Defence White Paper outlines how these new initiatives will be combined with the SRP to create a single reform agenda, so that reform activities are embedded into Defence’s day-to-day business.
The Government remains committed to ensuring that Defence is an effective and efficient organisation, and that every Defence dollar is spent both wisely and on the Government’s highest defence priorities.
The reform objectives of the Strategic Reform Program announced in the 2009 Defence White Paper remain current. This includes the cost reduction measures which have been incorporated into the Defence Budget.
Reform of Defence to support the protection and defence of Australia’s national security interests is a high Government priority. The Government and Defence will continue to work together to deliver the Defence reform program.
3 May 2013
PRESS OFFICE (02) 6277 7744
MINISTER SMITH’S OFFICE (02) 6277 7800