Hunter Class frigates swept up in Defence projects inquiry
A parliamentary committee will include procurement of the Hunter Class frigates in its inquiry into major Defence projects.
The decision to widen the scope of the inquiry into the Defence Major Projects Report came just a day after the release of what the joint public accounts and audit committee describes as a “deeply concerning report” from the Auditor General.
As reported by Government News, the national audit office found a $423 million cost blowout, delays, and a lack of focus on value for money, and a failure to follow procurement protocols during the tender process for nine new BAE-designed Hunter Class frigates which are being built to replace the ageing Anzac Class fleet.
The national audit office found Defence didn’t conduct an effective limited tender process for the ships’ design, and that officials failed to assess the value for money of the three competing designs without informing the government before awarding the contract.
The report also says an 18-month delay to the $45.6 billion project had cost Defence $422.8 million.
Committee Chair Julian Hill said the Hunter Class project was a critically important Defence program.
“Given the seriousness of the concerns the Committee initiated this inquiry less than 24 hours after the tabling of the report,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Initial public hearings are scheduled for Friday, with witnesses from the ANAO, Defence and Finance.
The Committee has also invited written submissions by June 15 and has requested submissions from contractor BAE Systems, as well as the British High Commission.
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