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Read all the latest news from Brendan O'Connor MP


March 29, 2021

Today’s cabinet reshuffle will make Peter Dutton the sixth Defence Minister in eight years, putting Defence’s multi-billion dollar projects further at risk after years of mishandling.

Cost blow outs, time extensions and poor delivery are an ongoing feature of major defence projects under the Morrison Government.

The unprecedented high turn over of Defence Ministers directly contributes to these issues.

We’ve seen plenty of defence announcements, but too few have been delivered .

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has said that it takes about six month for a Minister to get across this complex policy area, and the high turn over risks the effective delivery of policy and projects.

The disarray in Defence has meant the policy direction and asset delivery has been flawed.

Under this Government we’ve seen:
• A failure to secure local content, denying Australian workers and businesses opportunities
• $7.06 billion less invested in Defence capital projects than promised
• The top 25 major Defence projects running cumulative 42 years late
• A blow-out in Defence sustainment spending of $5.1 billion over seven years.
• Future Submarines delayed for a decade with a cost blown out from $50 billion to nearly $90 billion
• Critical decisions about the Full Cycle Docking of Collins Class submarines years late
• Future Frigates cost blown out from $30 billion to $45 billion as well as facing delays and capability problems
• Joint Strike Fighters currently flying 36 fewer hours than planned
• MRH-90 helicopters that can’t fire weapons when ADF personnel roping in and out seven and a half years late in achieving final operational capability
• Battlefield Airlifter that can’t fly into battlefields
• Cape Class patrol boats using sub-standard Chinese aluminium
These are just some of the problems we are aware of from this secretive and evasive Government.

Labor is committed to working with the Government to ensure these major projects are delivered on time, on budget and with appropriate Australian industry content.

We need a Government that doesn’t just make announcements, it actually delivers.