Australia Announces Defence Budget Boost

15 May 2008 (Last Updated May 15th, 2008 08:46)

In its recently released budget, the Australian Government says it will raise defence spending by three percent annually for the next nine years. This year's defence budget is around A$22.6bn. Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says increasing underlying defence spending by an a

In its recently released budget, the Australian Government says it will raise defence spending by three percent annually for the next nine years.

This year's defence budget is around A$22.6bn.

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says increasing underlying defence spending by an average three percent in real terms is a big boost.

"The increase will provide an extra A$2.8bn to defence over two years in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and will ensure that our soldiers have the necessary equipment, training and support they require to undertake their difficult work," Fitzgibbon says.

The budget includes total funding of A$1.036bn to maintain overseas defence operations, A$4.8bn for current equipment procurement projects and another A$4.5bn for maintaining and upgrading existing equipment.

Equipment spending of A$45m will be moved from 2008-09 to 2013-14.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh