The Government of Australia has unveiled a long-term plan to expand its defence personnel by nearly 30%, by 2040.

The move will increase the total number of permanent Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to nearly 80,000.

The defence force will include more than 101,000 permanent personnel by 2040. This represents an increase of 18,500 over the baseline growth agreed in the 2020 Force Structure Plan.

According to a government statement, the estimated cost of this expansion will be at least $28bn (A$38bn).

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “The first priority of my government is to keep Australians safe and to do that we need a bigger ADF, with more soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women to operate the cutting-edge capabilities we’re getting to protect Australia.

“Our world is becoming increasingly uncertain, so it’s important we take steps now to protect our people, and our national interest, over the coming decades.”

The plan seeks to increase the defence workforce in every state and territory, with the majority of the expansion taking place in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia.

Morrison added: “ADF personnel will be increased in every state and territory, with a particular focus on capabilities associated with our trilateral security partnership between Australia, UK, and US (AUKUS), as well as air, sea, land, space, and cyber.”

Australia recently committed approximately $51m (A$70m) in lethal military assistance for Ukraine. The government also allocated $25.44m (A$35m) for humanitarian aid.