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March 28, 2022

New budget documents show the Morrison-Joyce Government has presided over a $1.7 billion blowout in defence sustainment spending at the same time as the availability of key military capabilities is deteriorating. 

Defence 2021-22 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements show that Defence spending to maintain ADF platforms blew out by $1,044.5 million in 2020-21 and the projected cost for 2021-22 has increased by $703.2 million.

On top of this $1.7 billion budget blowout, availability for most of the Australian Defence Force’s key ships and planes fell short of what was planned and needed during this period.

•    Navy major combatants were available for 249 fewer days than planned (an 8.2% underperformance)
•    Navy minor combatants were available for 709 fewer days than planned (a 17.2% underperformance)
•    The Joint Strike Fighters flew 3,058 fewer hours than planned (a 25.8% underperformance)
•    The Hawk 127s flew 1,500 fewer hours than planned (a 23.1% underperformance)  
•    The Hercules flew 1,350 fewer hours than planned (an 18.4% underperformance)  
This Government loves to brag about its Defence credibility, but the truth is that for years now capabilities have been underperforming while the budget has blown out by billions of dollars.

Peter Dutton must explain why taxpayers paid over $1.7 billion extra than forecast for ships and planes that weren’t available.

The Minister cannot blame the pandemic as the budget estimates that weren’t met were developed nine months ago at the height of the pandemic. 

This is plain and simply incompetence, and as always it is taxpayers and the Australian Defence Force who pay the price.