Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 16:15 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 16:15 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Defence and the deficit

13 May 2010 13:12

Andrew Davies, Director of the Operations and Capability Program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, writes:

In addition to Jim Molan's good points about the budget papers, here are two more observations:

1) In past budget papers there was a list of planned 'unit ready days' for various naval platforms, including submarines as a separate line item. This year the subs are rolled in with the surface combatants under the heading 'major combatants', so we can't tell what availability is planned for the Collins fleet. With some educated guesses it's possible to 'reverse engineer' a little — which suggests that submarine availability isn't going to improve much, if at all — but we can't tell for sure.

2) Defence's contribution to the surplus in the budget might be greater than Jim thought. Table 14 in the PBS shows the major capital investment program for the forward estimates period. The totals are:

  • 2010-11: $5.794 billion.
  • 2011-12: $5.190 billion.
  • 2012-13: $4.651 billion.
  • 2013-14: $5.518 billion.

So in the year the budget is projected to be in surplus by the narrowest of margins ($1 billion), defence has about $1 billion less to spend on major capital equipment...