Defending Australia and its Interests

Media release
01 Jul 2020
Prime Minister, Minister for Defence

The Morrison Government will invest $270 billion over the next 10 years to upgrade the capability and potency of the Australian Defence Force to keep Australians safe while protecting the country’s interests in a changing global environment.

In its 2020 Defence Strategic Update, released today, the Morrison Government will signal a key change in Australia's defence posture, as it prioritises the Indo-Pacific region.

The update provides a new plan to tackle Australia’s defence challenges while increasing investment and personnel across the entire ADF.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Strategic Update would also mean more job opportunities as Australia’s increasingly capable and sovereign defence industry grows.

“My first priority is keeping Australians safe,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Federal Government is committed to ensuring the Australian Defence Force is equipped to meet our growing regional challenges in the Indo-Pacific, and to achieve our goals of regional stability, peace and security.

“Whether it’s our Pacific Step Up, our engagement with regional neighbours, or our deepening cooperation with partners new and old, our focus must be on the Indo-Pacific – it’s where we live and where our interests are.

“Our new strategic defence policy ensures that the Indo-Pacific is front of mind for our ADF and is prioritised in the decisions we make on our deployments and our force structure and capabilities.

“We are also providing Defence with the funding certainty it needs to deliver on our new strategic defence policy.

“This will ensure we are able to shape our environment, deter actions against our interests and, if required, respond with military force.

“More broadly, we are ensuring Defence has more durable supply chains, while further strengthening Australia’s sovereign defence industry to create more high-tech Australian jobs and enhance the ADF’s self-reliance.”

These new policy settings will be a long-term undertaking for Defence with implementation underway.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the recent bushfire season and the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a further dimension to what national defence entails, now and into the future.

“Defence thinking, strategy and planning have shifted gears to respond to our constantly changing and deteriorating strategic and defence environment,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Australia’s security environment is changing quickly, with militarisation, disruptive technological change and new grey zone threats making our region less safe.

“That’s why this Government will invest in more lethal and long-range capabilities to hold adversary forces and infrastructure at risk further from Australia, including longer-range strike weapons, offensive cyber capabilities and area denial capabilities.

“We will also invest in capabilities to give Australia better awareness of our region and to support regional engagement, while substantially increasing our air and sea lift capability to ensure we can rapidly respond to events across our region.

“These investments will provide significantly increased opportunity for Australia’s Defence industry, which the Morrison Government is committed to further strengthening.”

Australia’s defence industry is growing with over 4,000 businesses employing approximately 30,000 staff. An additional 11,000 Australian companies directly benefit from Defence investment and, when further downstream suppliers are included, the benefits flow to approximately 70,000 workers.

Defence planning will prioritise Australia’s immediate region – ranging from the north-eastern Indian Ocean, through maritime and mainland South East Asia to Papua New Guinea and the South West Pacific.

As a result, the new strategic policy will require force structure and capability adjustments, which are focused on the region, responding to grey-zone challenges that threaten our national interests, the possibility of high-intensity conflict and domestic crises. 

The long term implications for Defence capability and force structure are outlined in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, which has also been released.

The 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan are available here - https://www.Defence.gov.au/StrategicUpdate-2020/