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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 119

Senator Chris Evans asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 4 August 2004:

With reference to the 2004-2014 Defence Capability Plan (DCP) and Project Air 9001:

(1) Can a brief description be provided of all of the phases of this project.

(2) Was this project included in the 2001-2010 DCP.

(3) What was the timeline for this project in the 2001-2010 DCP, including the dates for each of the phases in the project, and when was it due to be completed.

(4) What was the budget for this project in the 2001-2010 DCP, including a breakdown for each of the phases in the project.

(5) What is the current schedule for the completion of this project, including the dates for each of the phases in the project, and when is it due to be completed.

(6) What is the current budget for the project, including the budget for each of the phases in the project.

(7) What has been the cost of this project to date (provide the cost of each phase completed).

(8) Has the Government approved funding for phase 1 of this project; if not, when is it expected that the Government will grant approval for phase 1 of this project.

(9) To date, how much has Defence spent on plans for phase 1 of this project.

(10) Why did the Defence Capability and Investment Committee (DCIC) endorse COSC Option 4 over COSC Option 3.

(11) a) Can an outline be provided of the costs associated with the transition to a civil training regime; and (b) given these costs, why was COSC Option 4 endorsed over COSC Option 3.

(12) Was DCIC aware of this costing deficiency when it endorsed COSC Option 4; if not: (a) what corrective action is being taken to remedy this situation to avoid problems in the future with this project; and (b) if no action is being taken, why not.

(13) Can the Minister confirm the accuracy of the operational and performance data used for the aircraft types in defining capability impact, and in support of the case for COSC Option 4; if so: (a) how was this data derived; and (b) how was the accuracy of this data validated; if not, why not.

(14) Are there any concerns about the risk of the MIRTASS concept; if so: (a) what is the nature of those concerns; and (b) given these concerns, why has the Minister allowed MIRTASS to be presented to Cabinet when significant risk issues remain unresolved.

(15) Given that in December 2002 the Prime Minister stated that the Air 9000 aircraft would be fast-tracked for early delivery, yet for reasons still not explained, it appears these aircraft will not be available until 2009, is the COSC Option 3 not a more cost-effective solution through wet lease of an appropriate 2-3 T trainer and the continuation of the Sea King until the Air 9000 aircraft is introduced into service.

(16) Why it is necessary to introduce another aircraft type as an interim solution when the Air 9000 rationale is to reduce inventory numbers.

(17) What provision has been made for Commonwealth liability in relation to leased aircraft in an operational environment.

(18) Will the new aircraft satisfy civil registration and safety standards; if not, what will be the cost of meeting these standards.

(19) (a) What is the weight of the aircraft being considered; and (b) what is the weight of aircraft normally used for training purposes.

Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) AIR 9001 has only one phase in the Defence Capability Plan (DCP). The options for training and support helicopters for the Navy, including the AIR 9001 DCP project, are currently under consideration by Defence.

(2) Although provision was made for this project in the funding flowing from the Defence 2000 White Paper, the project did not appear in the public 2001-2010 DCP.

(3) Not applicable.

(4) Not applicable.

(5) The Year of Decision is 2005-06. In-Service Date is 2006 to 2008.

(6) The 2004-2014 DCP lists $30-50 million. In addition to this, Defence is considering a range of options for the provision of its training and support helicopters capability.

(7) Nil - the project is not yet approved.

(8) No. Depending on the outcome of internal Defence and Ministerial considerations, the Government may consider First Pass approval for AIR 9001 Phase 1 this year.

(9) Activities in support of project planning and development are not separately costed or identified by project.

(10) to (19) Defence has considered this project internally, but has yet to provide formal advice to the Government on the matter. Internal Departmental considerations without Government endorsement have no standing.