Australia’s Defence operations will continue to be fully supported with the Budget providing an additional $1.4 billion across the 2012-13 Budget and Forward Estimates period.
Key measures under this commitment are:
- Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO), including in Afghanistan – continuation of Australia’s military contribution;
- East Timor – continuation of Australia’s commitment to helping to maintain security and stability through the International Stabilisation Force; and
- Solomon Islands – continued Australian Defence Force assistance to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
The Government has provided an additional $1.3 billion to fund operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East. In addition to previously approved funding of $439 million, this brings the Government’s total commitment to Afghanistan and the Middle East to $1.7 billion over the 2012-13 Budget and Forward Estimates period.
The Government has committed to long term support for Afghanistan. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will continue its important role in countering international terrorism, training and mentoring Afghan forces, and building capacity to bring peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan.
As recently outlined by the Prime Minister, our training and mentoring forces in Afghanistan will draw down over coming years in line with the NATO/ISAF Transition Strategy.
The Government has allocated an additional $77.3 million to the ADF’s contribution to maintenance of peace and stability in East Timor as part of Operation Astute.
In addition to previously approved funding of $11.6 million, this brings the Government’s total commitment to East Timor to $89 million over the 2012-13 Budget and Forward Estimates period.
An additional $44.0 million has been allocated in support of Defence’s role in Operation Anode, the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
In addition to previously approved funding of $1.6 million, this brings the Government’s total commitment to the Solomon Islands to $45.6 million over the 2012-13 Budget and Forward Estimates period.
The Government has also agreed to extend Operation Resolute, the military contribution to whole of Government maritime security activities to protect Australia’s offshore resources and deter people smuggling. The net additional cost of this measure, $9.5 million, will be met from within existing resourcing of the Department of Defence.
Future force posture
In the course of 2013, we may well see the start of a draw down of Australian troops in East Timor and Solomon Islands.
Taken with transition in Afghanistan, these draw-downs will mean a re-adjustment of both ADF posture and wider Defence priorities in the coming years and require consideration by Government about what impact this will have on the ADF.
A review of strategic circumstances as part of the 2013 Defence White Paper process will see some important decisions made about the force posture of the ADF in the coming years.
The 2012-13 budget commitments will continue to ensure support and sustainment for our operational priorities.
For more information and access to the Portfolio Budget Statement go to http://www.defence.gov.au/budget/12-13/index.htm
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999