Minister of Defence Stephen Smith — Keynote address to the Australian Defence Magazine Congress 2011

I thank the Aus­tralian Defence Mag­a­zine Con­gress Chair, and Edi­tor of Aus­tralian Defence Mag­a­zine, Kather­ine Ziesing, for her intro­duc­tion and for the invi­ta­tion to give the keynote speech at the Eighth Annu­al Aus­tralian Defence Mag­a­zine Con­gress.
I acknowl­edge my Min­is­te­r­i­al col­league Jason Clare MP, Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel.

I also acknowl­edge Dr Stephen Gum­ley, Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion, Air Mar­shal John Har­vey, Chief of the Capa­bil­i­ty Devel­op­ment Group, both of whom will speak lat­er, Aus­tralian Defence Force per­son­nel, Defence and Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion offi­cials, ladies and gen­tle­men.

First a note about our host.

The Aus­tralian Defence Mag­a­zine is a lead­ing pub­li­ca­tion on defence issues.

Its com­men­tary and analy­sis on defence pol­i­cy, major projects and equip­ment acqui­si­tions is high­ly rec­og­nized and impor­tant­ly well regard­ed.

The Aus­tralian Defence Mag­a­zine is read wide­ly with­in Defence itself. In par­tic­u­lar, its cov­er­age of Defence cap­i­tal projects is val­ued by the defence indus­try both Aus­tralian and over­seas.

The Aus­tralian Defence Mag­a­zine Con­gress itself pro­vides an impor­tant forum for exchang­ing infor­ma­tion and ideas, and you should make the most of this oppor­tu­ni­ty over the next cou­ple of days.

In what we always knew would be a big year for the Aus­tralian Defence Force, the ADF, it has been a very demand­ing start.

In the face of the extra­or­di­nary nat­ur­al dis­as­ters our coun­try has expe­ri­enced, the response by the ADF and its per­son­nel has been mag­nif­i­cent.

On the east coast over 2000 Defence per­son­nel dealt with floods in Queens­land and Vic­to­ria, with ADF heli­copters and fixed wing air­craft fly­ing more than 1,000 fly­ing hours, trans­port­ing more than 680 tonnes of stores and car­ry­ing more than 1,400 pas­sen­gers both mil­i­tary and civil­ian.

Mem­bers of the Aus­tralian Defence Force con­duct­ed res­cues, evac­u­a­tions, recov­ery work, engi­neer­ing and com­mu­ni­ty sup­port activ­i­ties, often under extreme weath­er con­di­tions.

In the after­math of Cyclone Yasi in Queensland’s north, more than 1500 ADF per­son­nel have been deployed to assist, as well as numer­ous amphibi­ous, mine clear­ance and hydro­graph­ic ves­sels, heli­copters and fixed wing air­craft.

Defence air­craft, from C-17s to King Air, have flown more than 100 hours and air­lift­ed more than 320 tonnes of car­go, includ­ing more than 200 tonnes of emer­gency food and water.

In the west, where I come from, we have had ter­ri­ble fires in Perth and floods in Carnar­von. At Carnar­von, sol­diers and equip­ment from the Pil­bara Reg­i­ment pro­vid­ed assis­tance in flood res­cue and relief oper­a­tions.

This cross coun­try mas­sive effort involved per­son­nel from all three arms of the Aus­tralian Defence Force, the Navy, the Army and the Air Force.

In sim­ple terms, we saw a Joint Brigade Group deployed with con­sid­er­able heli­copter and fixed wing air sup­port, and amphibi­ous, hydro­graph­ic and naval clear­ance div­er sup­port.

These Defence per­son­nel were of course util­is­ing equip­ment that you as a col­lec­tive pro­vide and sup­port.

They are all depen­dent on Defence and Indus­try work­ing togeth­er. Work­ing togeth­er effec­tive­ly to design, deliv­er and main­tain the equip­ment they need to both do their human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief job in peace­time and their mil­i­tary job dur­ing war.

Deliv­er­ing and main­tain­ing these assets is a crit­i­cal ele­ment of our nation­al secu­ri­ty.

But we know that pro­cure­ment, main­te­nance and sus­tain­ment is not with­out seri­ous chal­lenges.

A most press­ing exam­ple of this is the advice to me from Defence over the last few weeks that the main­te­nance and sus­tain­ment of our amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ty has, regret­tably, effec­tive­ly failed.

Ear­li­er this month, Min­is­ter Clare and I announced that on the advice of the Chief of Navy, HMAS Manoo­ra was to be decom­mis­sioned and that HMAS Kan­im­bla required sub­stan­tial reme­di­a­tion work. We are not expect­ing to see HMAS Kan­im­bla back in oper­a­tional activ­i­ty until April 2012.

HMAS Manoo­ra was placed on oper­a­tional pause by the Chief of Navy fol­low­ing a Sea­wor­thi­ness Board report in Sep­tem­ber last year. An exam­i­na­tion of the 40 year old ship revealed sig­nif­i­cant hull cor­ro­sion and the need for replace­ment of both gear box­es.

This work would cost over $20 mil­lion and take until April 2012 to com­plete. That would not be val­ue for mon­ey, as HMAS Manoo­ra was in any event sched­uled to be decom­mis­sioned at the end of next year.

On receiv­ing that advice I asked the Sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force for advice out­lin­ing the rea­sons for the ear­ly decom­mis­sion­ing of HMAS Manoo­ra and the extend­ed unavail­abil­i­ty of HMAS Kan­im­bla.

Their advice, which I am releas­ing today, was a frank appraisal and iden­ti­fies sys­temic and cul­tur­al prob­lems in the main­te­nance of our amphibi­ous ship fleet for over a decade or more.

It out­lines the adverse side effects of a ‘can do’ and ‘make do’ cul­ture and a lack of suf­fi­cient adher­ence to ver­i­fi­ca­tion, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and assur­ance process­es.

It out­lines a per­cep­tion that major sup­port ships are not sub­ject to the same lev­el of risk as sub­marines and air­craft, almost a per­cep­tion that HMAS Manoo­ra and HMAS Kan­im­bla are sec­ond tier ships.

It out­lines insuf­fi­cient resources being applied to address short­com­ings.

I will be as frank in pub­lic as I have been frank in pri­vate in express­ing my dis­ap­point­ment at this.

Main­te­nance and sus­tain­ment must be bread and but­ter busi­ness for Defence, for the Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion, for Navy and for Defence Indus­try.

This amphibi­ous lift sit­u­a­tion has been exac­er­bat­ed by ongo­ing main­te­nance activ­i­ty and oper­a­tional dif­fi­cul­ty with respect to HMAS Tobruk.
On 28 Jan­u­ary, I was advised that with the decom­mis­sion­ing of HMAS Manoo­ra, and the extend­ed unavail­abil­i­ty of HMAS Kan­im­bla, Navy was main­tain­ing HMAS Tobruk at 48 hours notice for sea to ensure an amphibi­ous lift capa­bil­i­ty was avail­able.

On 2 Feb­ru­ary, I was advised that HMAS Tobruk was to com­mence main­te­nance work in order to be ful­ly pre­pared to pro­vide any assis­tance in the days fol­low­ing Cyclone Yasi, in the event not required.

On 4 Feb­ru­ary, I was advised that HMAS Tobruk had left its dock and was being pre­pared to return to 48 hours notice for sea.

This has how­ev­er not yet occurred as fur­ther main­te­nance issues and prob­lems have been iden­ti­fied.

This work includes efforts to sur­vey, ver­i­fy, cer­ti­fy and replace a num­ber of safe­ty crit­i­cal flex­i­ble hoses nec­es­sary to ensure the safe oper­a­tion of HMAS Tobruk.

This recent advice on HMAS Tobruk’s main­te­nance no doubt reflects com­pa­ra­ble issues over the years as iden­ti­fied by the Sec­re­tary and the Chief of the Defence Force with respect to HMAS Kan­im­bla and HMAS Manoo­ra.

The Land­ing Plat­form Amphibi­ous sto­ry is a pro­tract­ed one and not a hap­py one.

It is easy to throw crit­i­cism around here, but I cau­tion that many of the seeds of the prob­lems we now face were sown more than a decade ago.

As well, we do need to be con­scious of what I describe as the lag effect. Many of the prob­lems we iden­ti­fy today in Defence have their gen­e­sis years ago. Some are only now emerg­ing. And much of the reform put in place in the last few years will have good effect for the future but not ret­ro­spec­tive­ly for long stand­ing projects or issues.

The estab­lish­ment by the Chief of Navy of the Sea­wor­thi­ness Board in 2009 was a long over­due means of address­ing these prob­lems and pro­vid­ing an inde­pen­dent review of mar­itime sys­tems. It was designed to find prob­lems and it has done so. The Board’s review of amphibi­ous ships pro­vid­ed a clear focus on a prob­lem sit­u­a­tion in the final quar­ter of last year that was not pre­vi­ous­ly avail­able.

The estab­lish­ment of the Sea­wor­thi­ness Board fol­lows the cre­ation of the Air Force Air­wor­thi­ness Man­age­ment Sys­tem in the 1990s which itself fol­lowed a series of ter­ri­ble acci­dents and inci­dents in the 1990s.

Since then, ADF air­craft acci­dent rates have reduced sig­nif­i­cant­ly, despite a much high­er oper­a­tional tem­po.

The advice in rela­tion to HMAS Tobruk and the Land­ing Plat­form Amphibi­ous ships over the last few weeks and months reflects in my view a sim­i­lar increas­ing aware­ness with­in Defence and the Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion of the need to iden­ti­fy and solve prob­lems as they emerge.

Navy and the Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion under­stand the enor­mous chal­lenge of cul­tur­al reform in this area, and have put in place a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to address the cur­rent Land­ing Plat­form Amphibi­ous sit­u­a­tion.

Notwith­stand­ing all of these dif­fi­cul­ties, I am advised by the Chief of the Navy that over the last twelve months, all of the assigned oper­a­tional task­ing the Aus­tralian Navy has been asked to do, it has done.

But Navy is cur­rent­ly unable to put to sea a heavy amphibi­ous sup­port ves­sel. It is clear that we must do more.

Today I announce that the Gov­ern­ment is appoint­ing an Inde­pen­dent team of experts to help imple­ment essen­tial change in the man­age­ment and repair of ships.

Mr Paul Riz­zo will lead that team.

Mr Riz­zo is cur­rent­ly a Direc­tor of a num­ber of major Aus­tralian cor­po­ra­tions includ­ing the Nation­al Aus­tralia Bank and Malle­son Stephen Jacques. He has a strong his­to­ry of devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing struc­tur­al and strate­gic reforms in large cor­po­ra­tions.

He is also the Chair of the Inde­pen­dent Defence Audit and Risk Com­mit­tee.

He will be sup­port­ed by two team mem­bers with rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence in Defence which includes Defence admin­is­tra­tion, engi­neer­ing, main­te­nance, logis­tics, sys­tems engi­neer­ing, safe­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and the oper­a­tion and sup­port of amphibi­ous ships:
Air Vice Mar­shall Neil Smith, retired, served in the Air Force for over 35 years. His RAAF career cul­mi­nat­ed as Sup­port Com­man­der (Air Force), where he was respon­si­ble for logis­tics sup­port, includ­ing tech­ni­cal air­wor­thi­ness over­sight, for all Aus­tralian Defence Force air­craft.

Rear Admi­ral Bri­an Adams, retired, served in the Navy for over 35 years. Spe­cial­is­ing in joint and amphibi­ous war­fare, he com­mand­ed HMAS Tarakan and HMAS Tobruk itself. These two senior retired Defence per­son­nel will assist Mr Riz­zo in this task.

Mr Rizzo’s Team will devel­op a plan to address the caus­es of the prob­lems fac­ing the avail­abil­i­ty of the amphibi­ous and sup­port ships and over­see the ear­ly stages of the imple­men­ta­tion of the reforms.

His team will focus on the causal fac­tors the Sec­re­tary and the Chief of the Defence Force have already iden­ti­fied and any oth­er fac­tors it con­sid­ers played an influ­ence in the cur­rent con­di­tion of amphibi­ous sup­port ships.

This will take place in the con­text of reforms already under­way.

Many of the causal fac­tors iden­ti­fied have been or are being addressed by sub­stan­tial reform ini­tia­tives under­way in Defence, includ­ing the Strate­gic Review of Naval Engi­neer­ing and the oper­a­tion of the new Sea­wor­thi­ness Board itself, both ini­ti­at­ed by the Chief of Navy, and of course more gen­er­al­ly the Strate­gic Reform Pro­gram.

Mr Rizzo’s team will also con­sid­er whether these reforms can be bet­ter applied to the main­te­nance and sus­tain­ment of oth­er naval ves­sels.

His team will also con­sid­er the main­te­nance con­cept being devel­oped for the new Air War­fare Destroy­ers and the Land­ing Heli­copter Docks to ensure their suit­abil­i­ty to sus­tain these ves­sels for whole of life.

Con­sul­ta­tion will occur not just with Defence but with rel­e­vant mem­bers of the ship main­te­nance com­mu­ni­ty and the con­tract­ing com­mu­ni­ty.

An ini­tial report will be pre­pared for con­sid­er­a­tion by me and the Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel with­in three months of com­menc­ing work. At that time, Mr Riz­zo will rec­om­mend whether fur­ther reports are required.

It is essen­tial that the prob­lems iden­ti­fied are addressed as a mat­ter of pri­or­i­ty ahead of the tran­si­tion to the new Land­ing Heli­copter Dock Ships. This work will be in addi­tion to the new com­pre­hen­sive amphibi­ous tran­si­tion plan I have asked Defence to pre­pare to ensure a smooth tran­si­tion to the intro­duc­tion of the Land­ing Heli­copter Dock ships.

Lat­er this week the hull of the first Land­ing Heli­copter Dock will be launched in Spain. The hull will arrive in Mel­bourne next year for fur­ther work to be com­plet­ed at the Williamstown Ship­yard before the Land­ing Heli­copter Dock becomes oper­a­tional in 2014. Australia’s sec­ond Land­ing Heli­copter Dock will become oper­a­tional the fol­low­ing year.

The Land­ing Heli­copter Docks are big­ger than Australia’s last air­craft car­ri­er. Each is 230 meters long and can car­ry a com­bined armed bat­tle group of more than 1000 per­son­nel, 100 armoured vehi­cles and 12 heli­copters.

This is a huge­ly ambi­tious project. It will require the high­est lev­els of coop­er­a­tion and exper­tise between Defence and Defence Indus­try to suc­ceed.

In devel­op­ing a new amphibi­ous tran­si­tion plan, I have asked Defence to inves­ti­gate all options to ensure Defence is able to pro­vide amphibi­ous lift between now and when the first Land­ing Heli­copter Dock becomes oper­a­tional.

This includes the pos­si­bil­i­ty of obtain­ing a Bay Class ship from the Roy­al Navy. I have dis­cussed this with Unit­ed King­dom Defence Sec­re­tary Liam Fox both dur­ing AUKMIN in Aus­tralia and sub­se­quent­ly.

Last week I announced the shar­ing of key capa­bil­i­ties with New Zealand, in par­tic­u­lar HMNZS Can­ter­bury.

HMNZS Canterbury’s amphibi­ous-lift capa­bil­i­ty will be par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in our region over the next few years in light of Australia’s amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ty chal­lenges.

The cur­rent state of our amphibi­ous lift capa­bil­i­ty is a sober­ing reminder of the chal­lenges we face and the risks that we run if Defence and Defence Indus­try don’t get it right.

We must do more to ensure that not only our sus­tain­ment activ­i­ties work, but that our capa­bil­i­ty devel­op­ment and pro­cure­ment process­es are suc­cess­ful.

These days we work in a chal­leng­ing pro­cure­ment envi­ron­ment. Our projects are among the most com­plex in our coun­try.

But this is not an excuse for fail­ures. Mea­sures must be put in place both by Defence and by Defence Indus­try to max­imise our suc­cess­es.

I said to the Defence Senior Lead­er­ship Group late last year that we need to sig­nif­i­cant­ly improve the whole of Defence’s per­for­mance in acqui­si­tion and deliv­er­ing capa­bil­i­ty out­comes that the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee of the Cab­i­net has approved and agreed to fund at a par­tic­u­lar lev­el.

We have made sub­stan­tial changes in recent times. These have seen improve­ment, through the enhanced first and sec­ond pass arrange­ments and the projects of con­cern process.

But again we must do more.

We need to instil much greater rigour and indi­vid­ual and insti­tu­tion­al account­abil­i­ty to our con­sid­er­a­tion and man­age­ment of major projects, acqui­si­tion and capa­bil­i­ties.

The Gov­ern­ment is deter­mined to apply the high­est lev­els of project over­sight and scruti­ny to improve per­for­mance in the pro­cure­ment and acqui­si­tion area.

We need true own­er­ship of the issues and both per­son­al and insti­tu­tion­al account­abil­i­ty. Some good work is already under­way.

Busi­ness process­es have under­gone sig­nif­i­cant reform, mak­ing the man­age­ment of projects more busi­ness-like, account­able and out­comes dri­ven.

Defence is con­stant­ly mon­i­tor­ing project per­for­mance and is cur­rent­ly enhanc­ing its scruti­ny to iden­ti­fy project prob­lems and options, includ­ing list­ing Projects of Con­cern for reme­di­a­tion.

In Novem­ber last year, Min­is­ter Clare and I announced that the acqui­si­tion of the Joint Air-to-Sur­face Stand­off Mis­sile (JASSM) had been added to the Projects of Con­cern list.

This list­ing was not because of indus­try delays or cost increas­es. It was because of Defence’s fail­ure to keep Gov­ern­ment prop­er­ly and ful­ly informed about the Project and its dif­fi­cul­ties.

Where nec­es­sary, the Gov­ern­ment will take the tough deci­sions to can­cel projects, as we did recent­ly for the Amphibi­ous Water­craft project.

This is anoth­er exam­ple of a project where the seeds of fail­ure were sown long ago.

This project was approved by the pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ment in 1997 and involved the con­struc­tion of six water­craft for HMAS Kan­im­bla and HMAS Manoo­ra.

The project suf­fered a num­ber of prob­lems but crit­i­cal­ly, the dimen­sions and weight of the water­craft meant they were unsuit­able to be launched from these ships.

Accord­ing­ly, the project has been can­celled and Defence is plan­ning to dis­pose of the ves­sels.

Defence is now imple­ment­ing clos­er over­sight of sig­nif­i­cant projects with imple­men­ta­tion of a sys­tem for mon­i­tor­ing and report­ing on Ear­ly Indi­ca­tors and Warn­ings so that senior man­age­ment can inter­vene to pre­vent prob­lems or reme­di­ate iden­ti­fied prob­lems.

The Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion is also using Gate Reviews as a means of sup­port­ing and audit­ing projects before they devel­op issues that can lead to them becom­ing projects of con­cern.

Gate Reviews have been in oper­a­tion in their cur­rent form since late 2009 and pro­vide an objec­tive, ana­lyt­i­cal and account­able approach to project gov­er­nance.

There is still much more work to be done here.

We need to pre­vent prob­lems before they emerge and solve them as they emerge: pre­ven­tion, not post mortems.

There will always be risk in com­plex, cost­ly pro­cure­ments involv­ing cut­ting edge tech­nol­o­gy.

But our focus must be ensur­ing that risk is min­imised from day one. That means apply­ing much greater up front rigour and indi­vid­ual and insti­tu­tion­al account­abil­i­ty to our con­sid­er­a­tion and man­age­ment of major projects, acqui­si­tions and capa­bil­i­ties.

Defence will apply this enhanced rigour to projects under devel­op­ment now, includ­ing three projects recent­ly approved by the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee of Cab­i­net which Min­is­ter Clare and I will also announce details of lat­er today:

First pass approval for joint project 2047 Phase 3, Defence Wide Area Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Net­work Replace­ment.

First pass approval for joint project 2097 Phase 1B, to deliv­er a mod­ern fleet of spe­cial forces vehi­cles.

First pass approval for project SEA 1448 Phase 4A to upgrade the Anzac class ships’ elec­tron­ic war­fare sys­tems.

These three projects com­bined are esti­mat­ed to involve expen­di­ture of between $500 mil­lion and $1 bil­lion by the time they are com­plete.

Defence also is review­ing the effec­tive­ness of its man­age­ment of major projects, and is using the JASSM project as a case study for fur­ther improve­ments.

I will have more to say over the next few months on reform­ing and enhanc­ing Defence’s account­abil­i­ty regime fol­low­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of the Black Review into account­abil­i­ty, which I for­mal­ly receive from Dr Black lat­er today.

These days we all have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to ensure that the Defence dol­lar is spent on pri­or­i­ty items, and that it is seen to be spent wise­ly. This par­tic­u­lar­ly applies to acqui­si­tion and capa­bil­i­ty.

For the first time in many years, per­haps for the first time in the mod­ern era, real para­me­ters have now been imposed around us to deliv­er these poli­cies: by the White Paper, by the Strate­gic Reform Pro­gram and by Defence’s capped Bud­get.

This neces­si­tates that we are more effi­cient and more effec­tive at deliv­er­ing capa­bil­i­ties to the men and women in the Aus­tralian Defence Force, and that togeth­er we get that capa­bil­i­ty right.

Gov­ern­ment invest­ment in Defence capa­bil­i­ty is for nation­al secu­ri­ty pur­pos­es. Our indus­try pol­i­cy must there­fore sup­port our nation­al secu­ri­ty and Defence pri­or­i­ties. The Defence Capa­bil­i­ty Plan under­pins our nation­al secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy. It is not of itself an indus­try pol­i­cy.

This means our focus, the focus of Defence, the focus of the Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion and the focus of Indus­try must be on deliv­er­ing the equip­ment the Aus­tralian Defence Force needs to meet the nation­al inter­est and nation­al secu­ri­ty tasks set by Gov­ern­ment.

In assess­ing what we all regard as poor per­for­mance in acqui­si­tion and sus­tain­ment three things need to be remem­bered. First­ly, many of Defence’s projects are among the most com­plex under­tak­en in or for Aus­tralia, and nec­es­sar­i­ly on or beyond the edge of cur­rent tech­nol­o­gy.

Sec­ond, the projects extend over long time peri­ods. In HMAS Kan­im­bla and HMAS Manoo­ra for exam­ple Defence is main­tain­ing 40 year old ships and some of the prob­lems now becom­ing appar­ent reflect deci­sions tak­en, or prop­er main­te­nance regimes not estab­lished, a decade or more ago. Sim­i­lar­ly, the deci­sions that led to the Water­craft fail­ure were tak­en in the late 1990’s, not the late 2000’s.

Final­ly, the ear­ly stages of reform and change always unearth long hid­den skele­tons. The very nec­es­sary estab­lish­ment of the Sea Wor­thi­ness Board will give us bet­ter main­tained and safer ships, with bet­ter avail­abil­i­ty rates, but the ini­tial effect was always going to be to high­light past and cur­rent defi­cien­cies. The Chief of Navy is to be com­ple­ment­ed for being will­ing to unearth the defi­cien­cies on his watch.

More gen­er­al­ly, I know that the Defence Senior Lead­er­ship is com­mit­ted to address­ing and solv­ing the prob­lems that I have dis­cussed today. There is no short­age of deter­mi­na­tion for us to do bet­ter.

Mis­takes made at the begin­ning of com­plex and cost­ly Defence projects are mul­ti­plied sub­stan­tial­ly into major prob­lems lat­er in the life of a project.

It is much more impor­tant to get projects right at the out­set, than sub­se­quent­ly can­cel a project after wast­ing tax pay­er dol­lars, or com­pris­ing on capa­bil­i­ty, sched­ule or cost. If we fail in this, it reflects bad­ly. It reflects bad­ly not just on Gov­ern­ment, but on Defence itself and on the Defence Indus­try.

If we fail in this, it is a bad out­come for Gov­ern­ment. It’s a bad out­come for Defence and for Indus­try.

Most impor­tant­ly, if we fail in this, it is a bad out­come for our nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests.

It is of course easy to focus on fail­ure. We need to remem­ber as well our suc­cess­es, like the response over sum­mer to our nat­ur­al dis­as­ters.

We all acknowl­edge that we have more to do. We also acknowl­edge that we have to do it togeth­er.

And we will.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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