The Committee has noted the issues that have emerged to date in relation to the Future Submarine project.
The budget for the Future Submarine project has risen from $50 Billion to $89 Billion for acquisition and $145 Billion for sustainment. At the same time the project’s inability to successfully complete key milestones in accordance with the schedule to date is particularly concerning. The most recent major milestone was 17 months behind schedule.
Budget blowouts, schedule slippages, all at the start of a long, expensive and risky program. Alarm bells should be ringing. Higher levels of scrutiny are needed. Whilst the Committee identified that the Submarine project will now be a subject in the Major Projects Review, this is not enough.
The Future Submarine Project should be declared a Project of Concern.
Unfortunately the Department of Defence has not published consistent criteria for entry onto the Projects of Concern list despite a recommendation from the Australian National Audit Office (Report No. 31 2018-19) to do so, to which Defence agreed.
A precautionary approach is necessary.
Recommendation: The Future Submarine Project should be declared a Project of Concern.