The Commonwealth has announced it has completed the Australian Standard for Defence Contracting (ASDEFCON) and 2021 Defence Procurement Review, and will overhaul the approval process for large Defence projects in an effort to save time and money.
In a December 27 release, Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the Review had identified opportunities to save industry time and money by reducing ‘red tape’ in the support and delivery of ADF capability.
“The implementation of the Review’s recommendations will significantly improve the way Defence does business,” Minister Price said. “It will also improve how Defence works to fast-track the delivery of capability to the ADF and how it communicates with industry.”
Under the changes, Defence will focus on reducing the time it takes to progress large materiel acquisition activities from the identification of a capability need, to the signing of a contract.
“For a project that would have previously taken four years, or possibly even longer to get the point of a contract signature, these changes will reduce that period by up to 12 months,” Minister Price added. “This change and other the initiatives introduced following the Review will help industry be better prepared and ready to respond to the needs of Defence and Government.”
As part of it strengthened communications with Industry, Defence will:
- allow industry to brief its project teams on tenders they submit to further clarify the offer proposed in support of Defence’s evaluation;
- will amend its processes to require tender debriefs to be offered at the time a tenderer is advised it has been unsuccessful, rather than after the process is concluded. This will give small businesses feedback on unsuccessful tenders up to six-to-12 months more quickly in some cases, helping them improve their tender responses;
- provide greater transparency of upcoming procurements through its Annual Procurement Plan on AusTender; and,
- provide an assessment of how a centralised contractor accreditation framework could be adopted to cut red tape for industry.
There will also be an improvement of probity practices, guidance, and training for procurements in order to reduce communication barriers between Defence and industry; and Industry will be kept better informed as to the status and progress of tender processes, especially where delays occur.
“The ASDEFCON and Defence Procurement Review is one of the Five Pillars that I announced in August 2020 as an improvement priority for Defence, to better support industry,” Minister Price said. “I have mandated specific, measurable, and enforceable Australian Industry Capability and Content commitments in the body of contracts under a new contracting framework in Defence, which has been rolled out this year on future projects above $20 million.
“The Review completes the delivery of the Five Pillars that I set out to support Australia’s defence industry,” she added. “Our strategic environment is deteriorating and creating new challenges for us to overcome, so we must have a more agile procurement system that delivers capability for our ADF more quickly and treats industry as a fundamental partner in the delivery of this capability.”
More information on the findings of and recommendation from the ASDEFCON and 2021 Defence Procurement Review can be found here.