Defence spending 'will create high-tech jobs'

An artist’s sketch of Australia’s new submarine, the Shortfin Barracuda Photo: DCNS.

Defence spending outlined in the budget is aimed at driving new high-tech jobs in Australia through an advanced local defence manufacturing industry.

The 20-year defence industry plan in the budget shows 3,600 direct jobs as part of the naval shipbuilding program and makes significant investments in defence capability and cyber security.

The funding allows for $195 billion to be spent over the next decade, including the $50 billion for 12 submarines, plus $35 billion for frigates and $3 billion for offshore patrol vessels.

The government announced Austal had been selected as the preferred tenderer to build up to 21 steel-hulled replacement patrol boats in Western Australia starting in 2017.

“Increasing defence’s capability supports the government’s efforts to respond to challenges to global security and secure Australia’s advanced defence manufacturing industry here in Australia, driving new high-tech jobs for decades,” the budget papers say.

Defence minister Marise Payne says the defence budget provides the funding needed to deliver the capability plans set out in the 2016 defence white paper.

The budget provides $32.3 billion to defence in 2016-17 and $142.9 billion over the forward estimates.

$686 million goes to for continued operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.

The security of Australia’s interests extends to cyberspace, with the budget providing $195 million over four years to be spent on Australia’s cyber security capability, including partnerships between the public and private sectors.

The money will also be used to help Australian businesses develop and promote their capabilities globally.

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