The Government of Australia is set to invest A$1bn ($720m) to boost the local defence industry and accelerate the recovery of its economy battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The investment package will be directed to a range of initiatives to support around 4,000 jobs, as well as several small and medium-sized businesses in the defence-industry supply chain.

The fresh stimulus will increase funding for defence innovation, skill development, cyber training and accelerate several Australian Defence Force (ADF ) capability development projects.

It will also help in advancing with infrastructure projects in the Northern Territory and a A$300m national estate works programme.

Additionally, the Australian Department of Defence will speed up the sustainment of ADF platforms and capabilities, which includes upgrading Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles and C-27J maintenance.

The government will also utilise the investment to increase employment opportunities for current and former ADF personnel and reservists.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “Like much of the economy, our local defence industry is doing it tough because of Covid-19. This is especially so for small and medium-sized businesses, that are critical to jobs.

“Supporting our defence industry is all part of our Jobmaker plan, especially high-paying, high-skilled jobs that ensure we are supporting a robust, resilient and internationally competitive defence industry.

“We want to build our sovereign industrial capabilities and Australian workforce to keep our people safe.”

To date, The Australian Government has committed around A$260bn to support the recovery of its economy, reported Reuters.

Recently, Australia launched a programme to encourage ‘innovative’ projects that have the potential to bolster the capabilities of the ADF.