The first responsibility of a national Government is the safety and security of its people. As Defence Minister, I take this responsibility very seriously.
The 2015–16 Budget delivers on the Government’s promise to grow, rather than cut, the Defence budget. The Government remains firm on its commitment to increase Defence spending to two per cent of GDP within a decade.
Since its election, the Government has invested more than $22 billion in Defence capability projects. New projects will be announced in the Defence White Paper, which will be delivered later this year and underpinned by a fully-costed Force Structure Review. The White Paper will outline the Government’s long-term Defence strategy that will guide Australia’s defence capability over the coming decades.
In conjunction with the White Paper, the Government will publish a fully-costed 10 year Defence Investment Plan, a Defence Industry Policy Statement and an enterprise-level Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Together, these policies and plans will ensure Australia has a sustainable and viable industry. Until the White Paper and Force Structure Review are released, the Government will continue to approve and fund the most urgent capability projects, listed in the 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements.
The Government continues to support our deployed Defence Force personnel including those in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and on maritime operations. I recently farewelled troops who joined the Building Partner Capacity training mission in Iraq, the next phase of Australia’s contribution to the international coalition effort to help the Iraqi Government disrupt, degrade and, ultimately, defeat Daesh.
Back home, the much-anticipated First Principles Review was released on 1 April 2015. The implementation of the recommendations will see Defence functioning as a wholly integrated organisation that delivers enhanced joint capability. While this review has reset the reform agenda for Defence, the Pathway to Change cultural reform program initiatives continue. These cultural reforms focus on initiatives creating a fair, inclusive, diverse and respectful work environment.
In an increasingly challenging global environment, the Government is now, more than ever, committed to countering both new and traditional threats that challenge our national interest and security.
Minister for Defence
In the 2015–16 Budget, the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to growing the Defence budget to two per cent of GDP within a decade.
The Government will provide Defence with $31.9 billion in 2015–16 and $132.6 billion over the Forward Estimates. This is an increase of $9.9 billion over the Forward Estimates when compared to the 2014–15 Budget and represents record expenditure on Defence.
Key measures in the 2015–16 Budget include: