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Monday, 7 March 2005
Page: 184

Senator Mark Bishop asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 8 December 2004:

With reference to weapons and ordnance unaccounted for by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) either through loss or theft:

(1)   For each of the past 3 financial years, what was: (a) the date the items were lost; (b) the location from where the weapons and/or ordnance went missing; (c) the Service from which the weapons and/or ordnance went missing; (d) the type of weapons and/or ordnance lost; and (e) the specific use of the weapons and/or ordnance.

(2)   What is the current replacement value in Australian dollars of the weapons and/or ordnance.

(3)   Which weapons and/or ordnance are suspected of being: (a) lost; or (b) stolen.

(4)   Were any weapons and/or ordnance recovered; if so, where were they recovered.

(5)   Where weapons and/or ordnance have been recovered, and a theft is suspected, have charges been laid; if so, what convictions have been obtained.

(6) (a)   What steps have been taken by the ADF to reduce the theft or loss of weapons and/or ordnance; and (b) can details be provided of the measurable outcomes of these steps to date.

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

(1) (2)   , (3), (4) and (5) Regrettably, despite strict controls, weapons are lost or stolen from the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Often these weapons are subsequently located. Records are not readily available on a financial year basis, but nine in-service weapons have been reported lost or stolen since February 2004. Of these nine weapons, one Steyr rifle and five Browning L9A1 9mm pistols have been recovered. In addition, a training grenade has been lost and recovered.

For details of weapons lost or stolen from the ADF prior to February 2004, refer to the response to Question W14 relating to the Additional Estimates Hearing 18 February 2004.

For explosive material stolen from Defence establishments, refer to the response to Senate Question on Notice No 1935, published 31 March 2004.

(6)   The ADF utilises the Standard Defence Supply System to track movements of all ADF weapons by serial number. All ADF units are in the process of being connected to the system.

Since 1998, all major weapons and ammunition storage and repair facilities have been the subject of thorough security reviews. Smaller weapons and ammunition facilities are currently undergoing similar reviews.

In excess of 300 internal management audits of ADF unit armouries have been concluded.

Since the tragic events of 11 September 2001, Defence has focused additional resources on enhancing protective security. Much of that effort has been devoted to measures to further improve the security of weapons.

ADF unit armouries feature security measures such as intruder alarms linked to a response capability and surveillance arrangements.