Since the Abbott Government was elected two years ago today, there have been significant achievements in Defence.
In this time, the Abbott Government has a demonstrated a steadfast commitment to investing in defending and protecting Australia and its national interest. Certainty has been restored to Defence.
The Government’s flagship achievement in Defence is the commitment to implement a continuous build of surface warships in Australia. This will provide certainty for Navy, the Australian Defence Force and defence industry.
This critical investment will generate significant economic growth and sustain several thousand Australian jobs over decades. It is a key part of our commitment to a safe and secure Australia.
In addition to this, the Government has:
- Initiated a Competitive Evaluation Process for Australia’s Future Submarine Program, providing a clear acquisition strategy and pathway for Australian industry to maximise its involvement in the program, whilst not compromising capability, cost, program schedule or risk.
- Brought forward the build of the Future Frigate by three years and the Offshore Patrol Vessels by two years.
- Remediated the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program, investing an additional $1.2 billion and inserting key advisers to get the project back on track, delivering the second AWD earlier this year.
- Brought forward the Pacific Patrol Boat tender (for 21 boats) that will provide replacement patrol boats for Pacific nations and invest around $2 billion in Australian defence industry.
This Government has increased the wage offer for ADF personnel to two per cent per annum in recognition of the unique and crucial work they perform.
This Government has restored funding to the Defence Budget and are on a strong trajectory to get Defence spending back on track to 2 per cent of GDP within a decade. This will see our ADF personnel properly equipped to meet future needs after Labor stripped $16 billion out of Defence over the forward estimates, cut the Defence Budget in 2012-13 to the lowest level of funding since 1938 – at only 1.56% of GDP – and were $30 billion short of delivering on their two Defence White Papers.
We have delivered on our election promise to 57,000 military superannuants and their families by indexing military superannuation, supporting a long fought campaign for equity, justice and fairness, by the entire veteran community across Australia.
Earlier this year, we released the recommendations of the First Principles Review of Defence, which will ensure Defence is appropriately structured and organised and has the right business practices in place to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the 21st century. Work to implement the review’s recommendations is well underway, with the majority of recommendations expected to be in place by 2017.
This Government has also re-started the highly-successful a highly successful recruitment and community engagement program - ADF Gap Year program, and initiated a National ADF Family Health Program, which delivers free basic health care to all ADF family members.
This Government has also:
- Acquired two additional C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft, bringing the fleet to eight. The C-17s will provide vital heavy airlift support to a range of regional and global coalition operations and greatly increase Australia’s capacity to provide rapid and effective disaster rescue and relief and humanitarian aid.
- Committed to acquiring two additional KC-30A Mutli-Role Tanker Transport aircraft, increasing the to the air-to-air refuelling capacity for the RAAF and extending the operational range of key aircraft, including F/A-18A/B Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, E-7A Wedgetail, C-17A Globemasters and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.
- Invested in the acquisition of a further 58 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft that will ensure we maintain air superiority in the region.
- Committed to acquire eight P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, which will dramatically boost Australia’s ability to monitor its maritime approaches.
- Committed to acquire the Triton Broad Area Maritime Unmanned Vehicle to boost maritime surveillance capabilities.
- Opened the LAND 400 tender for Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles to replace the ADF’s current Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV), which will enhance the Army’s fleet of combat vehicles and other land force capabilities to best protect our soldiers.
The Government will shortly release a new Defence White Paper. The White Paper will present a clear, long-term plan for Australia’s defence over the next two decades, one that aligns strategy, capability and resources.
The first priority of the Abbott Government is the safety and security of its citizens. Everyday we will continue to work hard to bring this about.
Chloe Petch (Minister Andrews’ Office) 0477 395 356
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999