Millions of $-worth of new clothing in $9 auction could have gone to Cadets

Hundreds-of-thousands of items of military clothing went under the virtual hammer in what seemed to be a wasteful Army warehouse clearance auction in Bandiana in November 2018.

A disgruntled CONTACT fan wrote to us this evening, with what seems like a legitimate question/complaint/heads-up…

Hi Brian,
I just wanted to let off some steam for a minute.
I am an ex staff member of the Australian Navy Cadets and Australian Army Cadets.
I know how hard it is to acquisition uniforms and footwear for cadets and staff members and other items that cadet units need to use from time to time.
These usually get to cadet units by beg, borrow and…
BUT, as I perused on the net today, I found an auction comprising of PALLET loads of boots, shoes and uniforms being auctioned off to the general public!!!
Surely these items should be issued out to Cadet units for their use before auctioning off to general public for $9.
Now I don’t know if they were asked or not, but the peanut who ordered so much that they need to auction off PALLET loads of kit needs a kick in the arse anyway.

All the items in question were indeed being auctioned, starting with reserves of just $9.

And that’s not $9 for a pair of boots – but a minimum $9 starting bid on a collection of, for example, 40 pairs of Cadet black boots size 2-and-a-half – or $9 reserve on (my favourite) 3000 gold-coloured belt buckles!

You could have also picked up thousands of belts to go with the buckles, with a similar $9 starting bid.

And all these items were brand new, still in their original shipping boxes.

There were hundreds of pairs of boots, thousands of slouch hats, hundreds-of-thousands of pairs of socks and a very wide range of other footwear, clothing and headdress items going under the virtual hammer.

I was almost tempted to bid on some stuff myself – but, if successful, I would have had to pick them up from Bandiana, Victoria, within a certain, strict timeframe.

Besides, the guilt in thinking of all those poor young ADF Cadets who might otherwise have benefited from this seemingly wasteful warehouse clearance (if common sense prevailed) might do my head in 😉

The auction in question is now finished and removed from the web site. We didn’t see any of the final sale prices.

CONTACT submitted the following questions to Defence…

Could you please tell me (so I can answer fan questions arising)….

  • Were the items in these auctions offered to ADF Cadets before being offered for sale?
  • If not why not?
  • Could you please give some indication as to why so many new/unused items were deemed surplus to needs without being used?
  • Why was there so much over ordering – or over-ordering of wrong sizes etc?
  • Can you estimate the procurement value of the items being auctioned?
  • And how much is hoped to be recuperated through this unreserved auction – or, how much was actually realised (after the auction closed)?

A Defence spokesman responded….

Cadet Headquarters place requests for clothing, boots and hats using the standard Military Integrated Logistics Information System (MILIS) process.  

Defence holds a range of Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniforms, and a specialist line of boots that meet the needs of Army and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) cadets. Defence works closely with the respective Army and RAAF Cadet Headquarters regarding stock levels of items used by cadets.

The Clothing Systems Program Office in the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group also works in consultation with Army to determine what obsolete items can be offered to cadets prior to disposal by other means. Only items that fall within cadet entitlements will be considered for offer to cadets.

Defence has uniforms identified for disposal that will be reviewed by the relevant cadet headquarters. Representatives of both Army and RAAF Cadet Headquarters will visit Bandiana to review the military specific uniforms.

Recent reform initiatives flowing from Defence’s First Principles Review have sought to rationalise and enhance Defence’s supply chain.  This includes lessening the volume of warehousing and storage, while ensuring that service personnel continue to be provided with world class equipment. The aim has been to maximise efficient warehousing and distribution practices, while minimising the cost of managing inventory throughout the Defence supply chain. 

(ADF) workforce, clothing must be procured across a broad spectrum of sizes. This involves the procurement and management of about 16,000 different items of clothing for over 100,000 members of the ADF. The ADF comprises around 58,000 permanent and 25,000 reserve members, with approximately 24,500 cadets at any one time, bearing in mind that there is recruitment and separation each year. On this basis, Defence has an ongoing requirement to review and update its clothing ranges. Defence cannot always rely on just-in-time delivery and has to take into account a range of risks, including sources of supply, transport times and manufacturing times. 

Defence has traditionally been required to maintain relatively large holdings to support operational readiness and, potentially, humanitarian relief requirements. Defence also continuously introduces improved clothing items for a variety of reasons, including to take advantage of technology enhancements and provide a higher level of safety for ADF personnel. For example, Defence recently introduced merino wool undergarments that provide greater protection against burns. These procurements will inevitably result in increases in stock holdings as superseded stock is identified and held for at least 12 months before being disposed of.

These increased stock holdings are not the result of over-ordering. The items for disposal would represent less than 1 per cent of items across the ADF clothing range.

The auction raised $128,224 through the sale of clothing items.  Disposing of these items by auction reduces warehouse costs and avoids the cost of destroying the items.









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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

3 thoughts on “Millions of $-worth of new clothing in $9 auction could have gone to Cadets

  • 16/02/2019 at 10:50 am

    Can’t get stock at cadets. orders just don’t come and they auction off to the public. story says cadets were asked. ha whi answered no we didnt need them??

  • 12/01/2019 at 10:20 pm

    Are you SERIOUS we can’t get clothing or boots at cadets. Keep ordering it and it never comes in. We have to re use boots as we’ve never got any.

    • 16/02/2019 at 10:49 am

      hearing your pain and black belts and gold buckles they auctioned off too. we never have enough.


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