Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 1 2009 Contents 10
2009 will be a significant
year for defence
We’ll see the release of the first White Paper
in nearly a decade, which will provide a strategic
assessment to 2030 and advice on the defence
force needed to protect Australia in the future.
And we’ll see the start of deep reform in
Defence. This will be driven by the White Paper
and budget audit and the initiatives that underpin
them and fix the broken backbone of our business.
Given the milestone represented by the White
Paper, 2009 will be divided into two very distinct
parts and take two very distinct forms.
Between now and the release of the White
Paper, budget audit and companion reviews, the
Service Chiefs, Group Heads and many others
will focus on developing these interdependent
initiatives for Government consideration.
That’s going to require an enormous amount of
work by a large number of people in a short period
of time. And I want to take this opportunity to
thank everyone who puts in the hard yards on this
vitally important work. Apart from operations, this
is our number one priority until May.
Once the White Paper, budget audit and
companion reviews are released, the rest of 2009
will focus on implementing the deep reform that
will flow from these and other initiatives, such as
the savings measures and the Defence Materiel
Organisation review by David Mortimer.
While the detail of the deep reform will be
subject to Government consideration, what’s
already clear from the 2008 efficiency and
effectiveness program is our need to prioritise to
meet Defence objectives.
That doesn’t mean working harder and longer
and doing more with less. It means concentrating
on those functions that have a direct impact on
organisational goals. And doing things more
efficiently and effectively.
This is particularly true when it comes to
my priorities to improve: advice to Government;
business and financial management; and our ability
to attract and retain a first class civilian workforce.
We made major gains in our financial
and business management in 2008, especially
with the unqualified financial statements and
disposals program. I’m pretty comfortable with our
performance in this area at the moment – but warn
that we cannot slip back into bad habits. It took
us many years and lots of hard, grinding effort to
achieve what we did last year. We must maintain
that ground and continue to improve.
That said, we’ve still got ground to make in
our advice to Government. The Ministerial Support
and Public Affairs Division review of our 2008
performance showed some gains had been made,
particularly in capturing the style and tone of the
Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries and the
quality and timeliness of Questions on Notice.
But we’re continuing to fall down on the
quality and timeliness of Ministerial and Cabinet
Submissions and Question Time Briefs. Advice to
Government is core business and I want to see a
big improvement in the major indicators in 2009.
This year, the People Strategies and Policy
Group will also roll out the civilian career and
talent management framework, after extensive
consultation. Some of the framework’s priorities
include clarifying career paths, providing
better access to career advice and support and
introducing programs to improve supervisor
and manager skills and for new starters.
I’m looking forward to what will be a
challenging 2009 for everyone in Defence. It’s
a year that will leave a major imprint on the
department and the nation for many to come.
fires affect defence
The bushfires in Victoria have deeply shocked
and saddened all of us. And unfortunately the
Defence community has not been untouched by
I understand some Defence personnel
have lost family and friends, and others have
lost property. Our thoughts are with all of our
colleagues who have been affected by the fires.
As you know Defence has deployed many
ADF personnel to assist the Victorian emergency
and fire operations, and they are doing a great job
under challenging circumstances.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of emails
from our people offering to help or asking how they
can help, and I thank you for your suggestions. It’s
times like these that the Defence community’s true
spirit and commitment
to the welfare of the nation really comes to the fore.
I am aware of a range of initiatives underway
at the local and regional level and thank everyone
for their emails and ideas of how we can help.
If you don’t have anything at your local or unit
level to contribute to, you can consider donating
to the Australian Red Cross appeal or the
Salvation Army appeal.
the focus of 2009
and deep reform
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