Page 20 - Australian Defence Magazine November 2019
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Estate and Infrastructure as a
MANAGING the Defence Estate is one of the important enablers of ADF capability and the DEBSS forum provided stakehold- ers opportunity to engage with one another and also to gain insight into Estate and In- frastructure Group (E&IG) thinking.
The 2019 conference was held in Can- berra’s Hotel Realm and included platinum sponsors Tetra Tech (Coffey, EcoLogical and Norman Disney & Young) and KPMG. Gold sponsors included Aurecon, GHD, BGIS, Broadspectrum and Duratec Australia.
DEBSS Conference
The 2019 event was the eighth in the DEBSS series so far and the annual conference has proven so popular that proceedings were di- vided into two separate streams after lunch.
The first stream considered base services and estate planning, which included two informative presentations on per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamina- tion of Defence bases and surrounding ar- eas and the considerable efforts underway to remediate the problem.
The second stream focussed its attention on capital project delivery and included a panel discussion to that effect. The main conference was chaired by Josef Baukes, key account manager – Defence for Coffey and the afternoon streams were presided over by KPMG partners Ben Mailler and Ben Ole- sen respectively.
Estate & Infrastructure Group
As the first keynote speaker at DEBSS 2019, Steve Grzeskowiak, deputy secretary – E&IG provided an update of his organisa- tion, including reference to the Defence Es- tate Strategy document produced in 2016 and its relevance today.
“Our guiding strategy is a strategically aligned, affordable, safe and sustainable estate that enables Defence capability and operations. We look at it annually, to see if it needs a refresh, but the strategy we es- tablished back in 2016 is as valid today as it was then (and) probably will remain so for a while yet,” Grzeskowiak said to the audi- ence of over 400 people.
“This strategy holds up very well (and) if you are hoping to win work off Defence, reading it is something I’d recommend.”
Grzeskowiak told delegates that his or- ganisation has an annual budget of $5.3 billion and increasing, as strategies laid down by the 2016 Defence White Paper are
rolled out. Altogether, he said the Defence Estate covered 2.8 million hectares of land (approximately equal to the size of Alba- nia) and included 70 bases and more than 30,000 structures, with a capital replace- ment value of around $68 billion.
Regarding the base service delivery con- tracts across the Defence Estate, which have been in place for the past five years or so, Grz- eskowiak said E&IG is positioning itself for an improved asset management approach
“We wanted to create opportunities for new players, and we wanted to promote in- novation, which is something that we look very much to industry to provide for us,” he explained. “We’re trying to incentivise those contracts to include innovation.”
Grzeskowiak also noted that the Gar- rison Estate Management System (GEMS) ICT system is now in place, after a delayed introduction.
“It’s one of those projects where, if we did it again, we would do it differently but, nevertheless, we’ve learned from our experi- ences,” he added.
The ageing Defence Estate itself is also being addressed as a matter of some prior- ity and Grzeskowiak said a major focus will be on capital investment and maintenance looking forwards.
“The condition of the estate has been de- teriorating but is now ticking up in the right direction because of the recent investments. It's important we make better decisions about how we invest in the estate,” he said.
“We’re essentially looking at things like effectiveness, efficiency and the morale of the ADF. If the estate that we have to live and work in on a Defence base is old and run down, decrepit, or the ICT doesn’t work, that’s not good for general morale and it’s not good for (the) retention of high- ly-skilled ADF people, particularly in com- petitive markets.”
Across the States and Territories, Grz-
The 2019 ADM Defence Estate and Base Services Summit (DEBSS) held in Canberra in September was the biggest in the series to date, attracting in excess of 400 delegates from across industry and Defence.
Delegates were able to access two streams in the afternoon, split between base services and planning or capital project delivery.
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