Defence funding in the Budget

Published on Department of Defence (author)

Topic(s): Training, Operations, Strategy, Ships, Boats and Submarines

First Air Warfare Destroyer Hobart undertakes acceptance sea trials off the coast of South Australia to undertake testing of combat, communications and additional platform systems. (photo: Russell Millard)
First Air Warfare Destroyer Hobart undertakes acceptance sea trials off the coast of South Australia to undertake testing of combat, communications and additional platform systems.

For those of you wondering how Defence fared in the Budget, here’s a wrap of the proposed funding.
The 2017–18 Budget provides funding for:

  • ongoing commitments to Defence Operations around the globe;
  • capability plans set out in the 2016 Defence White Paper through the Defence Integrated Investment Program; and
  • the strategies outlined in the Defence Industry Policy Statement to reshape and refocus the Defence and industry partnership.

The Defence budget will grow to two per cent of GDP by 2020–21, with $34.6 billion in 2017–18 and $150.6 billion over the Forward Estimates.
Over the next decade from 2017–18, the $200 billion Integrated Investment Program will support:

  • the naval shipbuilding program, which will invest $89 billion to develop the Royal Australian Navy of the future and the Australian naval shipbuilding industry.
  • The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which will give the Royal Australian Air Force capability to combat future threats to our nation. 

Expanded functions of the Defence Force Ombudsman will provide an additional independent complaints process for allegations of abuse in Defence, with functions further expanded in 2017–18 to provide for reparation payments to be made in some circumstances. This complements the cultural change reforms being implemented by Defence.
In recognition of the importance of developing a national approach to a redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse as quickly as possible, Defence will contribute to the implementation funding required to establish the Commonwealth’s Redress Scheme.
More than $300 million in savings are anticipated over the next four years through efficiencies resulting from reductions in the numbers of consultants and contractors used in Defence, as well as making changes to limit the costs of non-operational overseas and business travel.
The Royal Australian Navy is being strategically modernised with investment in the continuous build of new submarines, major surface combatants and minor naval vessels. The release of the Naval Shipbuilding Plan is imminient although significant work is already underway:

  • DCNS has commenced design and mobilisation work for the future submarine and Lockheed Martin Australia has been selected as the Combat System Integrator.
  • On 20 December 2016, Australia and France signed an inter-governmental agreement concerning cooperation on the future submarine program.
  • In April 2017, steel was cut for the first of up to 21 Pacific Patrol Boats at Henderson in Western Australia, representing the start of the continuous naval shipbuilding program.
  • A request for tender has been released for the future frigate program and a tender evaluation is underway for shipbuilding designers for the offshore patrol vessels.
  • The Government announced an initial investment of $25 million to establish a Naval Shipbuilding College to support workforce growth and the skills needed to deliver a continuous naval shipbuilding program.
  • The structural separation of ASC into three individual Government owned entities, supporting the key capabilities of shipbuilding, submarine sustainment, and infrastructure.
  • Odense Maritime Technology has been engaged to develop the detailed infrastructure design for the south side of the Osborne Shipyard in Adelaide.

The Defence Integrated Investment Program details Defence’s future capability requirements. Since the release of the2016 Defence White Paper, approximately $12.2 billion has been committed to new capabilities, including: 

  • Approval to commence design of the 12 future submarines, to be built in Australia.
  • An investment of up to $2 billion for the Short Range Ground Based Air Defence System which will provide the inner-most layer of Australia’s enhanced integrated air and missile capability.
  • A $500 million investment in Australia’s Electronic Warfare Support Operations to boost testing equipment, tools and laboratories to further strengthen the ADF’s electronic warfare capabilities.

The Centre for Defence Industry Capability, the Defence Innovation Hub and the Next Generation Technologies Fund are now operational.
As part of ongoing commitment to security and stability around the globe, the Government has agreed to continue funding major operations.
Australia currently has around 2,300 Defence personnel deployed around the world including on operations across the Middle East and Afghanistan. The ADF is also fully engaged in the near region, as part of securing Australia’s maritime borders.
An additional $34.2 million for security support for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Queen’s Baton Relay will allow Defence to provide niche capabilities in support of Queensland authorities. Defence support is a critical component for the security framework required to deliver a safe and secure environment for the Games.