Mr Hockey's budget speech recommitted to the Coalition's
election promise to build "Defence spending
to two per cent of GDP within a decade". The previously
announced $12.4 billion expenditure to buy 58 Joint Strike Fighter
jets and related equipment demonstrates the government's
commitment to military capability. The budget says that more detail
will be provided in the 2015 Defence White Paper and this appears
to be a direct response to comments in the National Commission of
Audit regarding Defence expenditure.
Defence will also be included in general Australian Public
Sector (APS) staff reductions, with Defence civilian staff numbers
to be reduced by 1200 APS staff and 300 service provider staff by
2017-18. This measure is expected to result in savings of $606
million over four years, which will be reinvested in Defence
capability with the focus on increasing efficiency.
Norton Rose Fulbright partner
Alena Titterton says that while the plan is for voluntary
redundancies and natural attrition to deliver many of these
reductions, "Defence senior leadership have personal
obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act to exercise due
diligence. That due diligence obligation requires ensuring
appropriate resources are in place to manage safety risks. Many
Defence civilians perform necessary safety support functions and
those functions need to be maintained, even in these challenging
times. That is also critical to Defence capability."
The National Commission of Audit recommended a number of matters
be subject of review including Defence structure, accountabilities,
efficiency and funding and Defence Materiel Organisation
realignment and reintegration to Defence .The budget announcements
include a "first principles review of Defence" intended
to make decision making "more streamlined and less
bureaucratic", something that the National Commission of Audit
acknowledged was already a government commitment. Ms Titterton
observes that "a streamlined approach to dealing with the
issues is sensible" and "the issues identified by the
Commission of Audit are all likely to be closely examined in the
single first principles review."
Ms Titterton also says that "there is an overabundance of
Defence strategic reviews that have been carried out over the
years. Perhaps review terms of reference should focus on the extent
to which efficiency reform recommendations have been implemented
following those reviews and causal analysis of why those have not
been implemented or not delivered the dividends instead of
constantly reinventing the wheel in strategic reform."
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
There has been a range of recent legal developments that affect privacy, child abuse claims and workers compensation.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).