The Defence Department has recently expressed concerns regarding its increasing dependency on outsourced contractors, prompting strategic moves to bolster its internal staffing. Recent data, sourced through Freedom of Information laws, reveals that the contractor workforce has surged to an unprecedented 37,000 members. Alarmingly, this number surpasses the Australian Army’s enlisted personnel by 18 per cent, raising eyebrows about the Department’s operational sustainability and potential vulnerabilities.
Recognising the growing imbalance and potential risks of an outsized contractor workforce, the Department has clearly articulated its intentions to scale back on outsourcing. A significant part of this strategy is their ambitious commitment to reducing the size of its contracted workforce. In line with this vision, the Department has mapped out comprehensive plans that will:
- Transition 2,000 contractor roles to in-house positions by the end of next year. This move aims to directly integrate external roles, ensuring greater oversight, cohesion, and reliability in key operational areas.
- Expand the Department’s permanent staff base by a staggering 18,000 individuals by the year 2040. This long-term vision not only underscores the Department’s dedication to fortifying its internal resources but also highlights a commitment to providing stable employment and strengthening the core of its operational capacities.
This strategic shift is expected to offer numerous advantages, including better control over training, streamlined operations, enhanced security protocols, and reduced costs in the long run. By prioritising a robust internal workforce, the Defence Department aims to ensure that it remains resilient, self-reliant, and better poised to address the nation’s defence needs in an ever-evolving global landscape.