Thursday, 25 February 2021
Department of Defence; Order for the Production of Documents
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) a key role of the Senate is scrutiny of government expenditure,
(ii) in April 2020, Senator Patrick requested the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) prepare an aggregated annual expenditure forecast covering the Department of Defence's capital acquisitions over the future twenty year period,
(iii) the Department of Defence has since consistently failed to supply the PBO with the complete set of project level expenditure forecasts, for each of the acquisition projects necessary for them to fulfil the senator's requests,
(iv) the data requested will only be used by the PBO to prepare an aggregated annual expenditure forecast to financial year 2039-40, being the period covered by the 2020 Force Structure Plan, that is a single monetary figure for each financial year over the period, with no reference to any individual project,
(v) all capital acquisition projects, which would be included in the capability acquisition program as per the Portfolio Budget Statements, and guided by the 2016 Defence Integrated Investment Program and/ or the 2020 Force Structure Plan, are to be included in the aggregation, and
(vi) documents provided to the PBO can be handled by that office under strict confidentiality provisions and there is no expectation that any individual project's data would be disclosed to anyone outside the PBO,
(b) orders the Secretary of the Department of Defence, by no later than 5 March 2021, to provide to the PBO, program-level information for each defence capital acquisition project as outlined in paragraph (a) (v) above, for each financial year from 2019-20 to 2039-40, setting out the amount of funding:
(i) committed for projects under contract,
(ii) allocated for projects or future phases of projects approved but not yet under contract, and
(iii) budgeted for acquisition projects planned but not yet approved; and
(c) requires the PBO to advise the Senate of the Secretary's compliance, or otherwise, with this order by no later than 9 March 2021.
Question agreed to.