2014-04-02 14:36:02 - Australia Defence and Security Report Q1 2014 - a new market research report on companiesandmarkets.com
The election of Tony Abbott´s coalition in September 2013 should spell a welcome increase in defence spending from the perspective of the struggling local defence industry. Abbott has pledged to increase spending from 1.59% of GDP now to 2% by 2023-24. That could result in the defence budget doubling over the coming decade, though that depends on the strength of Australia´s GDP growth rate. But the pledge will be a challenging one to deliver, even if the national economy grows strongly, since Abbott has effectively committed himself to growing the defence budget by 5-6% annually for the next ten years.
Even so, defence now looks set for healthy funding increases, even if Abbott struggles to meet his 2% target.
Abbott´s election may
now bring some much-needed clarity to defence after an uncertain period under the Rudd and Gillard governments. Gillard´s 2013 Defence White Paper did little to address the flaws of its 2009 predecessor, setting out ambitious procurement targets without explaining how they could be achieved or paid for. Abbott and his new Defence Minister David Johnston are now expected to prepare yet another White Paper for publication in 2014-15, in which they will explain the new government´s position on some major procurement programmes. The most important of these are procurement of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, and the development of a next-generation submarine. Johnston has already stated that the future submarine is his number-one priority, and he has refused to countenance a capability gap when Australia´s current submarine fleet begins to retire in the second half of the next decade.
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