New parliamentary probe targets wasted warship money

·1-min read
Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS

The $45 billion contract to procure warships is in the sights of a new review after an audit found the defence department didn't assess value for money.

The Australian National Audit Office found the acquisition of Hunter class frigates suffered from cost blowouts, poor planning and department officials hiding the fact they failed to assess the value for money of three competing blueprints.

Parliamentarians will now review the procurement of the frigates after the delay cost the department an extra $423 million.

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit will hold its initial public hearings on Friday and has requested submissions from the British high commission and defence contractor BAE Systems. 

Written submissions will be accepted until June 15.

Committee chair Julian Hill said an inquiry was launched within 24 hours of the auditor's report being handed down due to the seriousness of the findings.

"This is a deeply concerning report by the auditor-general into a critically important defence project," the Labor MP said.

The Albanese government has promised to overhaul the defence procurement process and a review into the navy's surface fleet has also been launched.