The latest Major Projects Report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has revealed an additional 68 extra months of in-year delays to 25 major Defence projects during 2019-20.
This means that these projects are now running a cumulative 42 years late, with each project that is delayed running on average three years behind schedule.
While COVID-19 has caused some challenges, Defence has said the average delay as a result of pandemic is only three to six months.
The Government must not use this pandemic as an excuse for why they are failing to deliver critical Defence projects on time.
The report also confirmed five major projects – the Joint Strike Fighter, MRH-90 helicopter, Hawkei protected mobility vehicles, Battlefield Command System and Battlefield Airlifter – are experiencing challenges in delivering all of their promised capabilities.
Meanwhile it’s been confirmed the $9.1 billion Air Warfare Destroyers will not have all of their required capabilities, with the Radar Electronic Attack capability not being delivered.
And despite warnings from the ANAO about the high-risk nature of this approach, Defence is still using Excel spreadsheets to manage risks and issues on many major projects rather than the robust project management software tools recommended by the Auditor-General.
Minster Reynolds needs to explain why there continues to be delays to the completion of critical Defence projects and capability shortfalls on her watch. She also needs to set out what steps she’s taking to fix this situation.
This is just the latest example of the Morrison Government letting our Australian Defence Force personnel down by not providing them with the capabilities they need, when they need them.