The Federal Government has endorsed the implementation of the Defence Strategic Reform Program (SRP). The blueprint, released in June 2009, seeks to carry out the reforms listed in the 2009 Defence White Paper to achieve $20 billion in cost reductions over a decade from 2009-10.
Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner announced the endorsement in early April, highlighting that Defence is on track to deliver the $797 million in cost reductions scheduled for 2009-10.
Addressing the Defence Senior Leadership Group in Canberra on 31 March, Senator Faulkner said the SRP is “not just about delivering savings and efficiencies”. The decisions made over the past year have already contributed to building Force 2030, but that achieving it will not be possible without achieving the SRP “in all its dimensions”.
A roundtable held on Friday 16 April 2010 by Defence to discuss the SRP with the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, and the Secretary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt revealed very little about the impact of the SRP on ICT. Dr Watt recalled the Gershon Review’s recommendation to “try and move ‑ replace those contractors by making them APS or by replacing them with APS. So IT would be an area where the whole of the Public Service would be contractor heavy.”
Dr Watt stressed that any savings achieved from the SRP would be reinvested on a “total savings” basis and projects would not be prioritised based on platform.
The Defence Strategic Reform Advisory Board, chaired by external expert, George Pappas, has been involved throughout the development of the implementation plan. Planning for the SRP has been underway since May 2009.
"The Board gave the Government a high level of assurance that the implementation plan is achievable," Senator Faulkner said. "The Board will continue to advise me over the life of the Program to assist in ensuring the reforms are being implemented in the way intended by the Government."