The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade recommended in November 2015 that the Australian Government develop a ‘defence exports strategy’ to assist in reducing barriers to defence exports. The Australian Government provided in principle agreement to this recommendation on 1 September 2016. The Australian Government’s Defence Export Strategy (the strategy) was launched on 29 January 2018.
The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of Defence’s design process and implementation to date of the Defence Export Strategy.
To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level criteria:
- Did Defence help inform the design of the export strategy with sound and timely policy advice?
- Has Defence established appropriate planning and governance arrangements to support implementation of the strategy?
- Has Defence delivered the phase one and two initiatives set out in the strategy on time and on budget?
- Has Defence established effective arrangements to monitor and report on the implementation of the initiatives under the strategy and achievement of defined objectives?
- Defence’s design and implementation to date of the Defence Export Strategy has been partially effective.
- The design process was largely effective. In designing the strategy Defence consulted with relevant stakeholders, but not all elements of the strategy had a firm evidentiary basis. Defence did not adequately draw the attention of decision-makers to key risks it had identified. Defence was responsive to government’s initial decisions and directions but was unable to meet the timeframes set by the Minister for finalising the strategy.