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Australian Budget to invest over A$36 billion in defence technology and industry

Australian Budget to invest over A$36 billion in defence technology and industry

On 8 May, the Australian Government has released its Budget 2018-19 on 8 May, pledging to
invest over A$36 billion in defence technology and industry.

According to a press
statement
by Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Australia’s
first priority remains to be the safety and security of Australia and its
people.

As reported
earlier
, the Australian Government released its new National
security science and technology policy agenda aimed at strengthening
Australia’s national security this month. The paper outlines the national
security science and technology priorities, governance arrangements and
engagement mechanisms as they exist now, these will need to co-evolve as
arrangements are re-defined under the new national security architecture, with
the establishment of the Home
Affairs
 portfolio and the Office of National Intelligence.

The 2018–19 Budget will continue to provide funding to support
the country’s plan to nurture a defence technology and innovation industry and boost
defence capabilities through the Defence Integrated Investment Program as set
out in the 2016
Defence White Paper
and reinforced in the 2017 Foreign
Policy White Paper.

The Budget maintains the Australian Government‘s commitment
to provide Defence with a stable and sustainable funding with the Defence
budget growing to two% of GDP by 2020–21. The Government will provide Defence with
A$36.4 billion in 2018–19 and A$160.7 billion over the forward estimates.

Supporting defence
industry

In building capability in the defence industry sector across
the defence supply chain, the Australian Government’s Defence Industrial
Capability Plan
is supporting businesses through a A$200 billion investment in
defence over the next decade, which includes a naval shipbuilding program,
which will invest around A$90 billion to develop the Royal Australian Navy
of the future, while creating a strong and sustainable Australian naval
shipbuilding industry with more Australian jobs,

A new Sovereign Industrial Capability Grants Program worth
up to A$17 million per year will help small businesses in the defence industry
buy equipment.

The Defence Innovation Hub is also expected to expand on its
success as its program matures and builds towards a full portfolio of
innovation investment. Since its launch in December 2016, the Defence
Innovation Hub has awarded 37 contracts totaling more than A56 million,
and manages a portfolio of legacy innovation projects worth approximately A$62
million.

Using technology to bolster
border security and combat crime

At the same time, the Australian Government will also invest
A$294 million
package
to bolster border services to boost its national security.  The package includes a A$122 million to
enhance screening capability for inbound air cargo and international mail with
new and upgraded equipment and advanced technology; and A$50.1 million to
support 64 regional airports to upgrade to new advanced screening technologies.
The Government will require major airports to upgrade screening technologies.

In combating transnational and
serious crime, the Australian Government will invest A$59.1 million for
the development of a new National Criminal Intelligence System that strengthen law
enforcement.

Another A$30 million will
be put to the Safer Communities Fund, which helps local councils and
organisations to improve community security through the roll out of closed
circuit television (CCTV), better lighting and crime prevention programs.

Upgrade of ICT
infrastructure and building a smarter biosecurity system

The
Government will put in A$130 million to upgrade the Department of Home
Affairs’ ICT infrastructure for visa processing, identity management and threat
analysis, to better detect and prevent threats.

To better prepare Australia for the heightened biosecurity
risk from the flow of people and goods across borders, the Government is
dedicating A$102 million to a smarter biosecurity system to better target
the prediction, surveillance and enforcement of biosecurity risks. The
Government will trial new diagnostic technologies for a seamless border process,
enhance industry partnerships and build national capacity to respond to pest
and disease incursions.

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