Defence spending central to broader economic plan

Defence spending central to broader economic plan
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne

While delivering a capability edge to the Australian Defence Force is the main goal of the $195 billion investment outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper, providing a strong economic outcome is also a crucial aspect for the federal government.

Speaking at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia's (CEDA) 38th State of the Nation conference, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne outlined the task the federal government has undertaken since the release of the 2016 white paper.

"I cannot say this often enough: the high priority we are giving to Defence is not just designed to maintain our capability edge, although that is our highest priority," Minister Pyne said.

"It is absolutely central to the Turnbull government’s broader economic plan."

And while the focus of the defence industry investment has been to create jobs and deliver an excellent military capability, the minister told the conference he believes the defence industry is also experiencing success overseas.

"It’s important to acknowledge that our defence industry is already achieving considerable success overseas, boosting its resilience, productivity and capability," Minister Pyne said.

"This isn’t just significant for the sector. It’s good for the economy as a whole.

"We are determined to use the defence dollar to drive a high-technology, advanced manufacturing future."

There has been much focus on the manufacturing side of the upcoming naval industry projects to take place in South Australia and Western Australia, but the minister stressed it is high time the nation transitions to an advanced and innovative manufacturing sector.

"Across the nation, industry is making the transition to high-tech manufacturing, embracing the innovation that will drive our continued national prosperity," Minister Pyne stated.

"This is where the jobs of the future will be created, along with the broader growth we need to ensure Australia maintains its position as an advanced economy among the top ranks of nations in the 21st century – an advanced economy that is able to provide for the defence of our national interests and enable us to play our part maintaining international security."

The minister's comments follow those of Treasurer Scott Morrison who, in April, said the government's economic plan is a key pillar in expanding Australia's workforce.

"Our defence industry plan is part of our wider jobs and growth agenda," Morrison noted.

"It makes sense. A strong local defence industry promotes innovation and technology, and the pipeline of work embodied in the continuous build approach will provide advanced manufacturing jobs for Australians for decades to come."

Defence spending central to broader economic plan
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