"Big improvements in the nation's defence capability also support innovation and skills development in advanced technologies," Scott Morrison said in his 2016-17 budget speech this evening. The 2016 Defence White Paper has revealed an additional $29.9 billion budgeted for Defence, and brings investment in capability to an "unprecedented" $195 billion over the decade to 2025-26.
On the shopping list? 12 new "regionally-superior" submarines, nine future frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels are expected to "drive jobs and growth in the new economy we are building".
"Through the 2016 Defence White Paper we have made the decisions necessary to establish a pipeline of work that will secure an advanced defence manufacturing industry here in Australia, driving new high-tech jobs for decades," Scott Morrison said.
The budget explains that the future submarine project is the largest and "most complex defence acquisition Australia has ever undertaken." The construction of submarines, frigates, offshore patrol vessels and Pacific patrol boats credited with the ability to directly secure over 3,600 jobs as well as "thousands more jobs" through the supply chain.
The White Paper provides $1.6 billion to "build industry competitiveness and skills while harnessing Australian innovation and expertise".
IT News reports that the defence budget has also been responsible for funding just over $122 million of the recently announced offensive cyber security strategy, with the national innovation and science agenda covering $38 million. The program is expected to cost $230 million in total, over a period of four years.
The cyber security strategy will "complement the initiatives of the 2016 Defence white paper to enhance Australia's cyber capabilities and increase the cyber workforce," the budget reads.