Australian Defence Minister announces $50 bn defence funding over next decade

Sydney, Apr 17 (IANS/DPA): Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles on Wednesday announced a $50 billion Australian ($32 billion) defence funding boost over the next 10 years.

The spending package includes an additional $5.7 billion over the next four years and an immediate injection of more than $1 billion to speed up the development of long-range missiles and targeting systems, as well as fuel resilience and robotic and autonomous systems, Marles said.

The funding also includes an upgrade of Australia's naval fleet with greater firepower and conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines.

The army is to be given the means for greater coastal manoeuverability with a long-range land and maritime strike capability, while the Air Force will be outfitted with better long-range surveillance and strike capabilities, on land, sea and air, according to the Defence Ministry.

The strategy also includes a strengthened and integrated space and cyber capability, including enhanced cyber and electronic warfare.

"At a time of complex challenges and increasing uncertainty, a stronger, integrated, focused and capable Defence Force is of the utmost importance," the Defence Minister said in a statement.

He added that the Canberra government's main focus was to project defence power into the Asia-Pacific region, rather than simply protecting Australia's borders.

Canberra's total defence spend is expected to reach $330 billion through to 2033-34. That incorporates the initial costs of acquiring nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS alliance with the US and Britain.

The increased spending commitment under the government's National Defence Strategy will bring defence spending to around 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2033-2034.



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Title: Australian Defence Minister announces $50 bn defence funding over next decade

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