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Australia’s government proposes record defense budget

April 1, 2022
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin exporters with products, services and expertise in the defense sector could find market opportunities in Australia.

Australia’s government is proposing a federal budget with record spending for defense.

The proposed 2022-2033 budget calls for a $48.6 billion AUD ($33.7 billion USD) allocation for Australia’s national security, a 7.4% increase over the previous year.

Through 2030, the government is committed to spending $575 billion AUD ($398.3 billion USD) in order to support a modern, expanded Australian defense force with superior capabilities, the government said. Its budget announcement, in March, cited challenges from global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Features include:

  • At least $38 billion AUD ($26.3 billion USD) to add 18,500 personnel to the total defense workforce by 2040
  • More than $15 billion AUD ($10.4 billion USD) for additional F‑35A Lightning II aircraft
  • Building a new submarine base on Australia’s east coast, as part of a more than $10 billion AUD ($6.9 billion USD) investment in future submarine infrastructure
  • $9.9 billion AUD ($6.9 billion USD) for cybersecurity enhancements, the largest-ever investment in that area, creating 1,900 new jobs over the next decade

The government estimates that cybercrime cost Australians more than $33 billion AUD ($22.9 billion USD) in 2020-21.

Australia’s government also said it is strengthening relationships with other countries throughout its region and worldwide, citing the AUKUS agreement announced in September 2021. The enhanced security partnership—involving Australia, the UK and the U.S.—includes collaborating on nuclear-powered submarines, cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities.

“A strong, sustainable and secure defense industrial base is central to defending our national interests and is part of Australia’s plan for a stronger future,” the government budget statement said.

Wisconsin exporters can be encouraged by Australia’s long history of purchasing U.S. defense resources and equipment. A 2018 report by the Australian National Audit Office showed Australia spent more than $10 billion AUD ($6.9 billion USD) on U.S. weapons over the previous four years.

Wisconsin exporters, particularly those already offering modern defense products, hardware and software, helicopters, tanks, surveillance systems and submarine maritime systems—as well as those with education and training platforms—could all find market opportunities in Australia.

More information about defense procurement activities is available through the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group of Australia’s defense department. Other useful resources for Australian defense procurement and investment activity include Defence Connect and the Australian Industry & Defence Network.



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