The Morrison Government’s cavalier attitude to spending taxpayers’ money has been on full display during Senate Estimates.
In Estimates hearings yesterday, the Department of Defence confirmed it spent $7 million to procure a new automated travel management system (‘Project Concur’) that was ultimately abandoned, with the final cost to taxpayers exceeding a possible $10 million.
The project was revealed in a damning Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report on Defence’s administration of travel allowances for APS employees, released in July this year.
The new travel management system was supposed to be up and running by 2017.
The ANAO audit revealed that after years of poor oversight, senior government officials were forced to shut the project down in June 2019.
During Senate Estimates, Defence officials admitted “poor” administration, leading to the Government spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money and wasting nearly three years.
Given the management system has now been shut down and nothing has been procured, this has been nothing more than a waste of money and time.
Officials could not answer basic factual questions about the project, such as whether the project went to an open tender, which senior official approved the expenditure, and whether a business case was finalised before the decision to spend taxpayers’ money was made.
This is a shocking example of maladministration and poor value for money from the Morrison Government.
Once again, this is another case of everyone from the Minister down being asleep at the wheel.
The Government needs to act to improve accountability, integrity and delivery in Defence and Labor will continue to hold them to account until they do.