Defence's commitment to efficient and effective competition requires that procurement is visible and accessible and that there is an opportunity for suppliers to do business with Defence. Defence's commitment to accountability requires that the Parliament and the public have the right to know the extent and type of goods and services needed to support Government programs, including the cost and who supplied it. This visibility is provided through the Commonwealth Purchasing and Disposal Gazette.
Defence must report in the Gazette details of any contract or standing offer arranged with a value of $2,000 or more, including any purchase made against a Defence standing offer.
In the context of gazettal requirements, 'contract' means any agreement for the procurement of goods and services under which Defence is obliged to make payment of public money to a supplier and includes any purchase order, oral or written contract or lease or corporate credit card transaction. 'Contract' also covers agency agreements, that is, agreements for the procurement of goods and services under which an agency is obliged, or may become obliged, to make a payment of public money to another agency.
The Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and Best Practice Guidance provides that if the Secretary of a department or officers delegated by the Secretary consider gazettal of procurement details to be exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, the Secretary or the relevant delegate may direct, in writing, that these details are not to be published in the Gazette.
In 2002-03, Defence had a total of 386 contracts or standing offers, with a total value of $38m, exempted from publication as it was determined that publication could cause damage to the national security, defence or international relations of the Commonwealth, in accordance with section 33(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. A breakdown by Group of the number of exemptions and total amounts is shown below.