Media Releases


December 14, 2021

The Morrison-Joyce Government’s mismanagement of critical Australian defence projects has been highlighted by a new report from the Auditor-General revealing long delays and capability shortfalls in major defence projects.
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report shows that major defence projects worth billions of dollars are running years behind schedule in achieving Final Operational Capability.
The ANAO found that as of the end of 2020-21, the combined schedule delays for the 21 major projects it examined stood at an extraordinary 405 months – more than 33 years. 
This means Australian Defence Force personnel are not getting the equipment and platforms they need to do their jobs and Australia is facing capability gaps with national security implications.
The ANAO report also found that the schedule delays for these 21 projects deteriorated during 2020-21, blowing out by a total of 73 months during the financial year.
Of particular concern, the ANAO report revealed that:

  • The $15.6 billion acquisition of 72 F-35A Lightning Joint Strike Fighters faces deficiencies with the aircraft and support systems as well as concerns over aircraft availability. 
  • The $1.1 billion upgrade to the Jindalee Operational Radar Network is now facing anticipated delays of “several years” – a dramatic deterioration in the schedule performance of this project which is critical for surveillance of Australia’s northern approaches. 
  • The $2 billion acquisition of sophisticated MQ-4C Triton drones to provide long-range aerial surveillance capabilities in the Pacific region will be delayed by up to five and a half years in achieving Final Operational Capability. 
  • The $1.4 billion acquisition of 10 new C-27J battlefield airlifters will not only not be able to fly into battlefields but delivery of Final Operational Capability will now be delayed by four and a half years, up from the previously forecast delay of 18 months.  

This is on top of a series of debacles by Liberal Governments on Defence helicopter acquisitions including:

  • $3.7 billion wasted on the MRH-90 Taipans that are being replaced before they are fully operational.
  • $1.1 billion spent purchasing the ARH Tigers which were seven years late and are already being replaced.
  • Over $1 billion blown on the Seasprites which had to be scrapped before a single helicopter was delivered.

These findings show that the Morrison-Joyce Government’s revolving door of incompetent Defence Ministers is compromising Australia’s national security.
With six Defence Ministers in eight years – and four Defence Ministers under Prime Minister Morrison alone – it is clear that the Government is comprehensively mismanaging billions of dollars of acquisitions that ADF personnel need to carry out their missions.