List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the ANAO include a section in the MPR that clearly outlines any recommendations and/or key lessons learnt during the preparation of the MPR, which are systemic and interrelated in nature. This section is to build on the current summary of observations made in the course of the ANAO’s review. The section should contain lessons that can be incorporated into future policy and practice across the Department of Defence and other Australian Government entities. In the situation where there are no recommendations or key lessons, a short statement should be provided by the ANAO explaining the reasons for not making any recommendations or identifying any key lessons.

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that Defence commission a performance review or independent external audit of the entire helicopter acquisition program in advance of upcoming helicopter acquisitions by Navy and Army.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the ANAO, in conjunction where appropriate with the Department of Defence, considers ways to improve the clarity of the MPR, with an emphasis on making the report more understandable to readers who may not have technical knowledge of defence terminology. This could include the following:
A “Definitions” section in the MPR, with contextual descriptions of terms that may have specific technical meaning that is unique to the Department of Defence, such as constant costs, out-turned costs, risk, Projects of Interest, Projects of Concern, Initial Materiel Release, Initial Operational Capability, Final Materiel Release and Final Operation Capability, to improve the readability and accessibility of the MPR for the Parliament and the public. It is suggested that the ANAO consult with the Department of Defence to agree consistent definitions to be used in preparing the MPR;
A description of ‘total schedule slippage’ to provide clarity to the Parliament and public as to the concurrent nature of defence acquisition and the meaning of this term;
A section explaining the technical definitions of the use of the term ‘risk’ in the context of the MPR, including a brief description of the nature of high or extreme risks requiring disclosure. The explanation should have scope to allow the Department of Defence to discuss the risks of individual projects within the Project Data Summary Sheets.
A contextual definition of ‘caveat’ or ‘deficiency’ in future Major Projects Reports, in the context of projects being described as having achieved significant milestones with caveats.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that the Department of Defence provide an update on the progress of the implementation of the Risk Reform Program across the Major Projects, including information on risk management practices and resolution of the issues that render data unable to support ‘reliable auditing’.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that the ANAO insert a subsection in Part 1 of future Major Projects Reports detailing the schedule variation for projects over the previous financial year, with explanation of why projects have experienced delays or gains in scheduling between the previous report and the current report.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that Defence and the ANAO use clear and accessible language in future Major Projects Reports when reporting on and describing costs, scope and capability variations.

Recommendation 7

The Committee notes that the Future Submarine Project will be included in future MPRs and recommends that Defence provide advice to the Committee as to what thresholds are required for any Defence Major Project to be listed as a Project of Concern.

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