Television interview, Nine Today Show

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact

02 6277 7800

Release content

26 April 2023

SUBJECTS: Defence Strategic Review, AFL ANZAC Day clash.

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: The Federal Government has announced it will commit $4.1 billion of its defence spending boost to acquire and manufacture more long-range missiles.

SRAH ABO, HOST: It comes as a review found Australia is ill-equipped to defend itself against military force. We are joined now by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Marles. Good morning, thanks for your time this morning, Deputy. Now, how imperative are these long-range strike systems to our defence and when will they arrive?

RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, they're really imperative. I mean, what we announced on Monday with the Defence Strategic Review was a need for our Defence Force, and particularly our Army, to have a much greater and longer-range strike capability. And this is all about having a Defence Force which can project – the language is to hold an adversary at risk further from our shores. We need to give people pause for thought if they seek to project power against Australia, and a longer-range strike capability, in this day and age, is fundamental to that. And so what we're announcing today with a $4.1 billion commitment over the next four years is we'll see a much sooner commencement of manufacturing of missiles in this country and a much sooner purchase of long-range systems, which will see us being able to have missiles that go hundreds of kilometres, where at the moment, we're able to send ordinance about 40 kilometres. So this is a radical change to our Defence Force’s capability and particularly our Army's capability.

STEFANOVIC: I get how radical it is, but it's the timing, isn't it? We understand there's going to be a review that needs to happen before all of that. We don't know who's going to do that. Then the options will be who develops it. We don't know who is going to develop them or exactly when they'll be built and developed for the most pressing security matter facing this country. It feels like it's the big go slow.

MARLES: Well, it's not. And we'll be working with the key manufacturers in the world today around missiles, so that’s Raytheon, Lockheed Martin out of the United States, Kongsberg out of Norway, looking at how we can get those companies operating in Australia to manufacture missiles of this kind. We're doing that from now and we are committing the money right now. And this represents a really significant difference in the money that was committed by the former government, which made a lot of announcements in this area, but didn't provide anything for it, and we’re doing that right now –

STEFANOVIC: But you know what we're saying – we're saying, okay, we understand that this is a radical change over the biggest since World War II, and then it's going to take you what – you can't even say when we’ll get them?

MARLES: Right now, or prior to Monday, the expectation was that we might see manufacturing in this country in 2027. As a result of the announcement that we've made today we hope that we can now do that in the next couple of years. So that does radically shift the time frame forward in terms of a manufacturing capability. In terms of the purchase of existing systems from overseas, we believe we'll be able to have a potent capability within the next two years. So we can talk about time frames, but there is a process that needs to be worked through in terms of talking with these companies, and that's the only point that we've made in the Defence Strategic Review. The action to make this happen is commencing right now. But you don't reshape the Australian Defence Force in one press conference. You don't do it overnight. This is the first re-tasking of the Defence Force in 35 years and it's obviously a massive enterprise, and turning it around and putting it on a different path is something that will take time. But it starts now and we've made very big commitments this week.

ABO: Yeah, hopefully it does get underway in those two years. It doesn't blow out. Hey, look, we know that there were some missiles you would have liked to throw yesterday at the MCG, right? Richard?

STEFANOVIC: Pies fans.

MARLES: Sarah, are you going to talk about anything other than Collingwood today?

STEFANOVIC: No, she's not. It's painful.

MARLES: Just wait till September, Sarah, wait till September.


ABO: Yeah, I can't wait until September. Bye.

STEFANOVIC: Good on you, Richard. Thank you.


Other related releases