The Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) will still cost the Australian taxpayer $16.5 billion despite the fact the fighter jets will be missing $1.5 billion worth of crucial and promised capabilities.
At a Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) inquiry into the 2018-19 Defence Major Projects Report, questioning from Labor forced Defence officials to admit that while the full $16.5 billion would be spent on the JSFs, the aircraft would be delivered without the Maritime Strike Capability and Beyond Line of Sight communications system.
These capabilities are said to be available through later projects, but the details are vague.
It’s not good enough for the Government and Defence to tell taxpayers not to worry about paying $16.5 billion for an aircraft which is worth $15 billion because they’ll get those capabilities through later unfunded projects.
To make it worse, instead of being open and transparent with the public about this cost increase, they hid it deep in an Auditor-General’s report and used vague, ambiguous defence jargon.
This is breathtaking arrogance.
The end result is the Royal Australian Air Force not getting the capabilities which were promised, and taxpayers being forced to pay for two more very expensive projects.
Yet again the Morrison Government’s revolving door of Defence Ministers have been exposed as being unable to deliver critical Defence projects on time, on budget and with the capabilities promised.