THE Rudd government has rejected a key recommendation from a major Defence audit report that argues that Defence could eventually save up to a billion dollars by closing military bases across the country.
The Defence budget audit conducted by management consultant George Pappas, completed earlier this year, called for the progressive consolidation of bases into a smaller number of "super bases".
The Pappas report argued that Defence should move to the smallest number of super bases consistent with Australia's strategic requirements, which would result in the closure of dozens of bases located in politically sensitive electorates, such as the Richmond RAAF base near Sydney.
But Defence Minister John Faulkner declined to endorse the super-base model.
"An independent commission will then be appointed to consider Defence's recommendations. This commission will conduct substantial public consultation before reporting back to the government," Senator Faulkner said.
The Pappas review, completed in April, but released by the government only yesterday, concluded that the Rudd government's pledge to grow defence spending by 3 per cent a year in real terms won't be enough to meet Australia's long-term needs.
The report called for "deep reform" of the Defence establishment and formed the basis for the Defence Department's 10-year, $20 billion savings program.
The Pappas audit identified potential cost savings of $15bn on top of the $5bn in budget cuts already identified by Defence last year .
� 1998 -