Dutton's incompetence costs taxpayers $34 million

The Australian National Audit Office’s Report into the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s Administration of the Biometric Identification Services Project is a damning indictment on the dysfunctional and incompetent Morrison Government and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
 
THE HON ED HUSIC MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
MEMBER FOR CHIFLEY
 

DUTTON’S INCOMPETENCE COSTS TAXPAYERS $34 MILLION
 

The Australian National Audit Office’s Report into the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s Administration of the Biometric Identification Services Project is a damning indictment on the dysfunctional and incompetent Morrison Government and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
 
The ACIC’s Biometric Identification Services Project was meant to assist law enforcement keep Australians safe by providing law enforcement with national fingerprint and palm print capability, a facial biometric capability and the ability to match identity using both capabilities.
 
When it was announced, then-Minister for Justice Michael Keenan reportedly said it was “essential to have effective and efficient information-sharing systems to support law-enforcement agencies”.
 
Instead of delivering those information-systems, $34 million was wasted on a project which the ANAO ultimately found to be “deficient in almost every significant respect”. Despite millions being poured into the BIS project, not a single one of the project’s milestones or deliverables were met and the project was abandoned.
 
The ANAO’s report found that the government overlooked the need to protect assumed identities and witness security – costing $10 million to fix. The report also reveals that the government was warned they had insufficient people working on the project and staffing cuts were posing a threat to the delivery of the project.
 
Peter Dutton, as the Minister responsible for ACIC, must be held responsible for this botched project. He must explain how he let this project collapse after he took on the Home Affairs portfolio, why he failed to adequately resource and staff the project and whether the Morrison Government is still committed to providing law enforcement with this capability.
 
Peter Dutton is completely out of his depth in the Home Affairs portfolio and his never-ending list of failures are not only an embarrassment, but have the potential to undermine the vital work of our law enforcement and security agencies.
 
Time and time again, we see Dutton’s incompetence impacting our agencies’ capacity to keep Australians safe.
 
Only last month the ANAO released another report which revealed the Australian Border Force (ABF) Cape Class fleet has consistently fallen short of its patrol days target since 2014.  
 
Before that, it was revealed that Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison chose to risk Australia’s border security by inflicting cuts and chaos on the ABF to stop maritime patrols to save money on fuel and slashed frontline ABF officers at airports over the busy holiday period.
 
Last week it was revealed Dutton’s Department has spent $2.76 million in external legal services to fight their own departmental staff whilst spending over $550,000 on corporate hospitality and executive office upgrades in a single year.
 
If Mr Dutton spent as much time on his portfolio as he did his shrivelled political ambitions, perhaps these things would not happen.

Why does Scott Morrison continue to trust Peter Dutton with unprecedented powers over Australia’s national security agencies given his abysmal track record?
 
The ANAO report demonstrates that despite its claims, the Morrison Government has failed to improve its dismal record of managing digital and IT projects.
 
Government invests billions in digital and IT projects, and this botched project has wasted 34 million taxpayer dollars and has hampered better security and law enforcement outcomes. On the Opposition's count there have been more than a dozen digital project failures under the Coalition's watch.
 
TUESDAY, 22 JANUARY 2019