House debates

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Questions without Notice

Australian Defence Force

2:56 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government is investing in the Australian Defence Force so our service men and women can have the resources they need to keep our nation safe as we chart our comeback through the COVID-19 pandemic?

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for Ryan for his question and thank him for his strong support of our defence personnel who live in his electorate, not too far away from the Enoggera Barracks.

The first role of our government is to make sure that we can keep Australians safe. We've endeavoured to do that by closing our borders internationally to keep Australians safe from COVID-19, and we have worked very hard off the back of that to rebuild the economy and help people get back into work. But it is apparent to all Australians—certainly it should be apparent to all Australians—that to have a secure nation is absolutely non-negotiable as a precondition to us being able to have a prosperous nation. We won't compromise on that principle.

The work of our service men and women, both domestically and internationally, is something that should be of great pride to all Australians. The work that they do has to be backed up by the appropriate investment, and that's why we are putting a record amount of money—in fact, more money than any government since Federation—into our defence personnel. We are very proud of that. It's as a result of having managed the budget well over a number of years, making tough decisions, that we can invest into our Australian Defence Force.

Over the next decade we are spending $270 billion—an amazing investment and a well-deserved investment for those men and women. We know that that work to modernise the Australian Army, to make sure that we can invest, for example, $55 billion into the land domain capability over the next 10 years, will make them one of the most professional forces in the world. Under that program, there is a $5 billion Boxer Combat Reconnaissance program. It will deliver 211 vehicles, and the majority of those will be built at Rheinmetall Defence Australia's Redbank facility—not too far from the member's electorate in Queensland. The remarkable thing about that is, over the 30-year life of the Boxer, Australian industry is expected to secure over $10 billion of work. So it means small manufacturing firms in electorates right across Queensland—in fact, right across the country—will be able to provide component parts and work very closely with this program and others. The point is that that investment that we're making is not only supporting our service men and women but creating jobs in the suburbs across the country. So, at a very difficult time in our country's history because of the COVID virus, through our investment in defence we have been able to support people in jobs, and those jobs will continue to grow into the future. It doesn't stop there, of course. We're investing in air and sea capabilities, and we'll make sure that we continue to do that.