Budget measures to bring ‘rational’ approach to Defence

The 2017 budget revealed the Department of Defence would cut $300 million from spending on consultants and contractors, much to the disappointment of big name consultancies, but others have said the decision will bring more balanced methods to Defence.

Defence Connect spoke with Adam Evans, director of Victoria-based consultancy firm Anywise Consulting, who said the changes are a sign of positive change to the department.

"$300 million is a lot of money, but in the grand scheme of the cost of delivering Defence's budget, I think we'll just see some rationalisation," Evans said.

"Anywise, does it change our practise? Not really. We've got a little bit of work above the line directed [to] Defence, we've got some work to the primes and we've got some work outside defence ministry, so I think ultimately the kind of supply chain, in terms of professional services, that will be established as a result of it will be an agile and transparent one. So the good quality suppliers of people, processes, tools and equipment will continue to get the work. I'm not overly concerned about it." 

However, the former Australian Army officer warned that the presumption of some defence consultants falling into civil servant roles is not correct, noting that there will be some difficulties.

"I imagine some companies will have some mean times and make people redundant and some of those people will possibly find their way back into Defence as civil servants. I don't think it's apples and oranges in the main. I don't think you can easily move workforce out of defence into civilian complex project management and vice-versa," Evans said.

Along with cutting $300 million of spending on consultants and contractors, the budget also revealed the government will consider up to 57 acquisition and estate projects under the Integrated Investment Program in 2017-18.

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