Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 1 2011 Contents 16 > DEFENCE MAGAZINE
Two months into the year and
Australians have witnessed
and experienced several very
unfortunate events: serious flooding in
Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales
and Western Australia; bushfires in several
parts of the country; a category five
cyclone hitting nor th-east Queensland;
and the tragic loss of two of our soldiers
And the Australian Defence Force has
readily responded to each situation with
the skill and determination that we have
come to expect.
These kinds of events are representative
of the unpredictable and very diverse
environment in which Defence operates.
May I say that it is a testament to the
whole of the Defence organisation that the
ADF is able to respond so quickly to these
kinds of circumstances and, in times such
as these, the nation witnesses our world-
class Defence Force in action.
The ADF, through its dangerous and
challenging work, regularly achieves public
recognition, as it should. However, the
work that goes on behind the scenes,
from both uniformed and non-uniformed
members across Defence, often goes
unseen. I would like everyone in this
organisation to feel proud that the work we
do, either directly or indirectly, supports
and enables our Defence Force.
As we have seen, a lot of things can
change the course of a year. So, in Defence
we need to be able to manage that element
of uncertainty and unpredictability.
However, as a government department,
there are several things we can anticipate
and know will happen.
There will be budgetary processes,
considerations and consequences. The
Expenditure Review Committee will
meet soon to consider portfolio budget
submissions, ahead of Budget Cabinet in
mid-April, and in the lead-up to Budget
night in early May.
There is the Senate Standing Committee
on Defence, or Estimates, which convenes
three times during the year. The Estimates
process is fundamental to our way of
government; it is essential that, as the
spender of public funds, the Government
and its agencies, such as the Department
of Defence, are seen to be transparent and
I have said this before but it is worth
repeating at the beginning of the new year;
to effectively support the Government of
the day, accountability is a value that must
be embedded in our organisational culture.
It is fundamental to building productive
working environments, and staff at all
levels must be aware of this. We have more
to do in this area.
While some accountability and
governance-related issues are addressed as
part of specific Strategic Reform Program
streams, accountability also needs to
be considered from a whole-of-Defence
perspective. The Chief of the Defence Force
and I are determined that Defence become
more transparent and accountable in the
management of Defence business.
Last year, CDF and I commissioned The
Review of the Defence Accountability
Framework, led by Dr Rufus Black, and
supported by a small team in Defence.
The review was presented to CDF and me
in late January 2011 and presented and
discussed with the Minister for Defence in
Once considerations have been finalised
and recommendations implemented, we
will see major changes to decision-making,
performance management, personal
accountability and skill sets in key areas
The associated cultural changes will not
be easy and will not happen overnight,
but we are committed to improving
accountability for the long term so we can
better serve the Government, the Australian
public, and our people on the front line.
Defence simply can not achieve what it
needs to without improving accountability
across the organisation. This applies
not just to the SRP, but to many of our
And speaking of SRP, a key focus this
year will be on keeping to a schedule of
cost reductions. The SRP is scheduled
to deliver another $1016 million in cost
reductions, which will be re-invested in
Force 2030. More than $380 million will
also be invested in reform activities to help
us achieve this result.
This will be demanding, but nonetheless
achievable. We will also continue to provide
detailed and targeted information about
the SRP by way of further briefings, visits,
workshops and other methods because it
is imperative for staff to get on board with
the SRP and to genuinely understand it.
While the necessary activities for future
cost reductions are already underway, and
the past year has provided a very firm
foundation for the changes ahead, we need
to continue to move away from a ‘business-
as-usual’ approach to become more
innovative and embed cost-consciousness
in everything we do.
It is clear that 2011 will be a very busy,
challenging year, however I have every
confidence in the people of Defence that
we can rise to the challenge.
The beginning of the year often provides an opportunity
for contemplation and anticipation – what lies in the
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