Monday, 7 December 2020
Questions without Notice
Australian Defence Force
My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Defence. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government is securing the future of our nation by strengthening the future capability of the Australian Defence Force?
I thank the honourable member for his question and thank him for his service to our country in uniform and for being a great champion for Tasmania. Obviously in the post-COVID world we see a situation where our country will face more and more complex strategic challenges, and Australia needs to make sure we can harness our future opportunities. Importantly, we also need to mitigate the risks and to deter potential future threats. The federal government has been able to put significant investment into our Defence Force, not only to provide support to our men and women who wear the uniform but, importantly, to make sure they receive the right kit and that we make the right investment into a number of assets that will provide support to our defence personnel.
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the 2020 Force Structure Plan are key parts of the government's national security agenda, and we are backing our armed forces by investing $270 billion into defence capability over the next decade and restoring defence funding to over two per cent of GDP. So this not only provides a future of certainty for our country where we can provide assurances to Australians about making them as safe as possible but it also puts a significant amount of money into local businesses right across the country. So, when people look forward over the next 12 months, over the next 12 years, they know that if they're working in a small manufacturing business in an outer metropolitan area somewhere they can be provided with the assurances they need to make the extra employment arrangements that they might need to fulfil their arrangements in their contract with Defence. We're also building our naval vessels—70 vessels being built here in Australia.
An opposition member interjecting—
I note the interjection there: not one was contracted under Labor when they were in power, and yet this government has been able to support 15,000 companies and 70,000 Australian workers who are benefiting from the government's investments in Defence. We're making sure that those numbers are growing. We're managing the economy effectively and, if we do that, we can invest further into our defence forces. We can invest more into our national security and we can make sure that we can keep Australians safe. The Morrison government is absolutely committed to providing our ADF personnel the resources and the tools they need to protect our nation into the near future and the longer term.