Defence projects could face audit following Finnish boat contract: report

An audit of major defence projects and their use of Australian suppliers is possible, according to a report today.


The Australian Financial Review cites unnamed sources, including in the defence industry, and reports that prime minister Scott Morrison has made “pointed remarks” to Defence department officials about keeping foreign-owned primes to their local content pledges.


One source told the paper, “The audit will ask what have you actually done and how will you live up to your obligations.”


It also mentioned that multi-billion-dollar projects including the Attack Class submarines, Future Frigates, patrol boats and Boxer vehicle projects are likely to face scrutiny. Options include compliance by multinationals with Australian Industry Capability program requirements.


The ABC reported last month that there was “considerable” annoyance within Defence over a $55 million contract for 41 rigid-hull inflatable boats from Finland-based Boomeranger. These boats will be delivered over 10 years and be for the Offshore Patrol Vessel program.


There was no competitive tender for the work, and among the Australian companies overlooked was Britton Marine Systems, which is based in Morrison’s Cook electorate and had previously supplied navy and law enforcement. 


Adding to the frustration of the Australian defence industry are recent contracts by France’s Naval Group to French firms on the $50 billion submarine program.


Picture: Defence


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