One of Australia’s largest defence primes has called for more political oversight of companies bidding for Australian defence projects.
Speaking at the inquiry into the benefits and risks of a Bipartisan Australian Defence Agreement, Raytheon Australia's head of public affairs, Gerard Wheeler, encouraged the committee to push for government committees and the National Security Committee (NSC) to have access to details of defence companies performance.
The Department of Defence's Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) established the Performance Exchange Scorecard program where scorecards ranks companies in a traffic light system against benchmarks including cost, schedule and technical performance is assessed.
Raytheon's submission to the inquiry said that, beyond the companies themselves, only a limited group within the Defence Department sees the scorecard. Elaborating at the hearing, Wheeler said the NSC, which makes decisions on major defence acquisition projects like the upcoming LAND 400 Phase 2 project, should have access to the scorecards as part of its decision-making process.
"I think it's a bad thing that no-one ever sees these documents," Wheeler told the inquiry.
"The problem is that very few people see them and I think it would be a great thing for this committee, and certainly for the National Security Committee, to regularly see these documents."
Raytheon's submission argued there is "a strong public interest" that members of the Defence sub-committee of the joint standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade also be provided with the scorecards on a confidential basis to inform them on how the portfolio of defence projects are being executed by industry.
"This would also serve to inform members of the sub-committee of which members of industry are actually meeting their commitments to their Defence customers," the submission said. "This would help to demystify the performance of industry for political decision makers and lead to a more informed political discussion of the market."
Wheeler's and Raytheon's comments around this issue, and others, has set industry abuzz with discussion, with others also coming out in favour of the proposal, however, several tier one and tier two companies contacted for comment were reluctant to go on the record.