The Australian Government’s 2019-20 defence budget has increased by A$2.3bn ($1.6bn) to A$38.7bn ($27.52bn) and A$175.8bn ($125.02bn) to 2022-23.
In its annual budget statement, the government said the rise from the last financial year is in line with its commitment to increase the defence budget to 2% of GDP by 2020-21.
The defence budget aims to increase the country’s commitment to regional and global security, boost investment in advanced defence capabilities and create several Australian job opportunities.
In a statement, Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The Morrison Government’s number one priority is keeping Australians safe and secure. The 2019-20 budget sees continued strong investment in Australia’s national security, with a particular focus on enhancing our regional security, building defence capability and supporting Australia’s sovereign defence industry.”
The country will continue to support the US-led international Counter-Daesh coalition in Iraq, assist Afghanistan in controlling its security and increase support level to South East Asian countries.
Currently, more than 2,300 Australian defence personnel are deployed around the world in support of several operations.
More than A$200bn ($142.23bn) will be invested by the government in defence capabilities over the next decade until 2028-29.
Capabilities include the purchase of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, P-8A Poseidon aircraft, E-7A Wedgetail and EA-18G Growler upgrade, as well as continuing the country’s ship and submarine building.
In order to safeguard the government and Australian Defence Force networks from cyber-attacks, investments will continue to be made to strengthen cyber defence.
The budget has also allocated funds for investment in the Australian Signals Directorate, including the Australian Cyber Security Centre, and for the establishment of cybersecurity ‘SPRINT teams’ and a Cyber Security Response Fund.
Additional investments are also being made to support the country’s defence industry.
To achieve this, the government is implementing the Defence Industry Skilling and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strategy, the Defence Global Competitiveness Grant programme, the Sovereign Industrial Capability Grant programme, administering the Defence Innovation Hub, as well as issuing grants and conducting events to increase the involvement of small and medium enterprises.
Approximately A$47.5bn ($33.78bn) has been dedicated by the government for the procurement of new capabilities since the 2018-19 budget release.