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.