27 September 2023

Audit has shot at Defence purchases

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A performance audit of the Department of Defence’s acquisition of a Battle Management System and Tactical Communications Network for the Army’s Land 200 series of projects has found the Department failed to conduct the acquisition processes effectively.

The audit found, however, that the purchases might achieve value for money if the quality and quantity of the goods and services are delivered according to an agreed schedule, and are successfully integrated into the Army’s projects.

In his audit, Modernising Army Command and Control — the Land 200 Program, Auditor-General, Grant Hehir said the Chief of Army had described Land 200 as the highest-priority project in the Army.

Land 200 is being acquired on behalf of Army by Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group at a cost to date of some $1.3 billion,” Mr Hehir said.

He said the capability being acquired through Land 200 comprised the two major systems and the objective of his audit was to assess the effectiveness and value for money of Defence’s acquisition of them.

“Defence did not conduct fully effective acquisition processes for Land 200 Tranche Two Work Packages B–D, but may ultimately achieve value-for-money outcomes,” Mr Hehir said.

“Defence established an appropriate review framework for the acquisition projects, but its effectiveness was undermined by a failure of governance.”

He noted that Defence also did not establish fully effective project governance arrangements.

The audit made a single recommendation to which Defence agreed.

The Auditor-General’s report can be found on his website at this PS News link or as a 58-page report at this link.

The audit team was Patrick N. O’Neill, Jagjeet Basant, Leo Simoens and Sally Ramsey.

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