Our Plan for

Stronger Defence and Defence Industries

Key Points

The first role of Government is to keep Australia and Australians safe.

We are investing more than $200 billion in Australia’s defence capability over the next decade – the nation’s biggest peacetime investment in Defence.

By 2020-21, we will have restored investment in Defence to 2 per cent of GDP. This is in stark contrast to Labor who slashed more than $18 billion from Defence, reducing Defence spending to just 1.56 per cent of GDP – the lowest level since 1938.

To keep Australians safe and secure, we need to keep our economy strong. The Coalition Government’s strong economic management underpins the investments needed to defend Australia and protect our borders.

Our record rejuvenation of Defence includes building 54 naval vessels in Australia, modernising our Army and introducing a world-leading fifth generation Air Force.

We are maximising involvement and opportunity for Australian industry across Defence programs - from large scale projects with national reach, to local projects and contracts that support our Defence Force day to day. Our plan is creating tens of thousands of highly-skilled, high-paid jobs throughout the country.

This is securing jobs for generations to come and ensuring the Australian Defence Force is supported by the thriving Australian defence industry they need, when they need it.

A re-elected Morrison Government will continue building Australia’s defence capability by:

  • Maintaining our commitment to increase Defence investment to 2 per cent of GDP by 2020-21, to provide certainty for Defence planning and procurement.
  • Building an additional three naval vessels in Henderson, Western Australia – two Mine Warfare Support vessels and a hydrographic vessel – adding to the 31 minor war vessels already being built in WA and the 54 naval vessels being built in Australia overall.
    • This will bring the number of naval vessels the Coalition has committed to build (or already commenced) in Australia to 57. Built in Australia, by Australian workers, with Australian steel – in stark contrast to Labor, who committed to build no naval vessels in Australia.
  • Investing $156 million to roll out a package to support further enhancing our cyber resilience and workforce – particularly across the ADF and the Australian Signals Directorate and the Australian Cyber Security Centre, as well as strengthening our broader cyber security resilience and response across small business, older Australians and families.
  • Continuing with the Attack class submarine project, which Labor say they are putting on ‘pause’ to once again delay and create uncertainty for our Navy and our defence industry.
  • Supporting our ADF personnel by allowing them the choice to contribute to their ADF Super even after they have transitioned to a new employer.

Our Record

The Coalition has a strong record of investing in and delivering what is needed to keep Australians safe.

Strong economic management has meant we can restore defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP, reversing the significant decline under Labor.

Under Labor, Defence, and thus the safety and security of our nation, was an unacceptable casualty of their inability to manage the economy.

Under Labor, defence funding was gutted by over $18 billion and investment fell to just 1.56% of GDP – the lowest level since 1938. Under Labor 119 Defence projects were delayed, 43 projects reduced and eight cancelled.

By contrast, the Coalition Government has made over 173 project-related decisions since the release of our 2016 Defence White Paper: we’re getting on with the job of delivering the best equipment and facilities our Defence Force needs.

Australia has one of the finest militaries in the world. A proud history, equipped with some of the best equipment and training in the world, combine for an envied reputation.

But we live in a region which is increasingly volatile. Competition for power is growing and the threat of terrorism is clear and present.

To keep Australians safe and secure, we need to keep our economy strong. For too long, successive Labor Governments have treated Defence like an ATM when it needed to prop up its own poor budget decisions, placing the safety and security of our nation at risk.

Only the Morrison Government can be trusted to keep Australia safe. To do that, we are:

  • Continuing to deliver reliable and sustainable Defence funding.
  • Continuing to renew our Defence capabilities.
  • Contributing to operations at home and around the globe.
  • Enhancing support for regional security.
  • Building a stronger Navy, Army and Air Force.
  • Investing in infrastructure and enablers.
  • Building the Australian defence industry.
  • Keeping Defence on the cutting edge.
  • Enhancing our cyber warfare and security workforce and resilience.
  • Supporting Our Defence personnel.

Our Plan

Reliable and sustainable Defence funding

Reliable and sustainable Defence funding gives Australia’s military the confidence to plan ahead and make the investments they need to keep Australia safe.

In turn, Australia’s defence industry can invest and employ more Australians.

The 2019-20 Budget maintains the Morrison Government‘s commitment to provide Defence with stable and sustainable funding growth.By 2020-21 we will have restored Defence investment to 2 per cent of GDP.

Renewing our Defence capabilities

Under strategies laid out in the 2016 Defence White Paper, the Morrison Government is investing in the capabilities and platforms necessary to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex security environment.

Our fully-funded plan is investing more than $200 billion in Australia’s defence capability over the next 10 years, including the largest regeneration of our Navy since the Second World War.Built in Australia, by Australians, using Australian steel.

The 10-year Integrated Investment Program laid out Defence’s plans for procurement, giving certainty to industry of the path ahead.

To deliver this ambitious program, the Coalition Government has made over 173 project decisions since the release of the White Paper. Not only do these decisions get vital equipment into the hands of our service men and women sooner, but they also create opportunities for Australia’s defence industry to invest and grow.

Operations at home and around the globe

The Australian Defence Force is one of the most respected and effective militaries in the world. Only the Morrison Government can be trusted to continue to invest the resources necessary to keep it that way:

  • We have given our ADF the power to target terrorists with lethal force (in accordance with international law). This includes targeting support networks and improvised weapons manufacturers, as well as front-line combatants.
  • As part of Operation Okra, around 600 ADF personnel have been involved in the fight against Da’esh.While we have achieved territorial defeat, Da’esh remains a threat to global security.
  • We’ve increased Australia’s commitment to the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan (to around 300 personnel) so that Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for terrorists.
  • To combat terrorism in our region, ADF training teams are building the capacity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to combat Islamic State-aligned terrorists.
  • We are also expanding the ADF’s role in training select state and territory police units to respond to domestic terrorist incidents.

Enhanced support for regional security

The Morrison Government recognises Australia’s security is intertwined with our Pacific neighbours so we are stepping up actions in this vital region.

Our package of security, economic, diplomatic and people-to-people initiatives will take Australia’s engagement to a new level and Defence will play a key part:

  • The Morrison Government has committed to building a large-hulled vessel dedicated to increased ADF engagement with our Pacific partners, especially for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • We are fundamentally changing how the Pacific region identifies and responds to maritime security threats with the 30-year, $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program. This will deliver bigger and more capable Australian-built patrol boats, aerial surveillance, information sharing, and capacity building.
Building a stronger Navy

The Morrison Government is keeping Australians safe with our $90 billion plan to build 57 new vessels – the largest regeneration of the Navy since the Second World War.

This is in stark contrast to Labor, who did not commission any naval vessels from Australian shipyards when they were last in office.

  • We are doubling our submarine fleet to 12 Attack class submarines, building nine Hunter class frigates and 12 Arafura class offshore patrol vessels to ensure our borders remain secure and our nation safe. We are also building 21 Guardian class pacific patrol boats to help our near-neighbours.
  • A re-elected Morrison Government commits to building an additional three naval vessels in Henderson, Western Australia – two mine warfare support vessels and a hydrographic vessel.
  • All 57 vessels will be built in Australia, using Australian workers and Australian steel – creating thousands of jobs for decades to come. More than 700 Australian businesses have already prequalified to work on the Hunter class frigates. Around 170 have pre-qualified to work on the Attack class submarine program.
  • The Morrison Government has committed to building world-class new naval shipyards to construct the vessels and has established the Naval Shipbuilding College to ensure we have the right workers at the right time.
  • The Morrison Government is continuing our initial investment in 2017 with the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College, by investing a further $30 million to create a Tasmanian Defence Innovation and Design Precinct, helping to deliver the research needed for Australia’s cutting-edge maritime defence capability.
  • Our commitment to construct two further mine warfare support vessels at the Henderson shipyard precinct in Western Australia is part of our new mine warfare strategy.
    • We will bring forward the replacement of the Huon-class mine hunters from the 2030s to the mid-2020s, as part of our new Maritime Mine Countermeasures Program (to be known as SEA 1905).
    • The Morrison Government has allocated over $1 billion in the Defence Integrated Investment Program to deliver the full scope of SEA 1905, including the building of the two mine warfare support vessels and investment in new mine countermeasure (including autonomous) systems.
  • The build of the three additional vessels will be coordinated with our existing naval shipbuilding programs in Western Australia.
    • This will ensure the naval shipbuilding workforce in WA continues to grow over the long term. It’s estimated there will be around 1,000 jobs created to build the Arafura class offshore patrol vessels and 400 jobs to build the Guardian class Pacific patrol boats.
Building a stronger Army

The Morrison Government will keep Australians safe with an unprecedented investment in our Army including:

  • A $5.2 billion project to build over 200 new Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles in Queensland and creating 1,450 jobs nationwide.
  • A $15 billion project to replace the Army’s M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers with a fleet of up to 450 modern Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
  • New weapons including rifles, pistols, grenade launchers and mortars as well as new body armour and night-fighting equipment.
  • A new protected truck fleet: Australian-built trailers and modules, cranes, excavators, front-end loaders, forklifts and tractors as well as aviation refuelling and fire trucks.
Building a stronger Air Force

The Morrison Government will keep Australians safe with an unprecedented investment in Air Force capability including:

  • More than $17 billion to acquire the world-best F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. More than 50 Australian companies have shared in more than $1.3 billion in production contracts so far. The program is expected to support over 5,000 Australian jobs by 2023.
  • Boosting the security of our borders with the manned P-8A Poseidon and unmanned MQ-4C Triton maritime patrol aircraft. Infrastructure alone for this project will support over 4,000 Australian jobs.
  • Enhancing our ability to watch and protect ADF land forces by acquiring the MQ-9 Reaper as Australia’s first armed, remotely-piloted aircraft system.
    • Australian industry will provide a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities, as well as associated infrastructure development.

Investing in infrastructure and enablers

The Morrison Government has committed to the redevelopment and construction of new infrastructure across Defence, ensuring the ADF has the facilities it needs for operations in our region and beyond. This includes:

  • Over $3 billion for facilities and maintenance hubs to support new capabilities for the Navy, Army and Air Force.
  • Over $1.8 billion on military base and critical infrastructure renewal for the Navy, Army and Air Force.
  • More than $25 billion forecast investment (to 2028) to build and maintain defence infrastructure to support new and existing capabilities.

At the same time, the Government is providing $5 billion in additional funding to 2025‐26 to modernise Defence’s information and communications technology.

Building Australia’s defence industry

Our creation of a stronger, more resilient, and internationally competitive defence industry is maximising opportunities for Australian businesses to secure Defence contracts. Hundreds of thousands of people and more than 3,000 small to medium enterprises are already employed in Australia’s defence industry.

  • The Morrison Government has launched the 2019 Defence Policy for Industry Participation, providing further opportunities for Australian companies to compete for work and drive the long-term development of Australia’s sovereign defence industry.
  • This policy builds on the success of the Government’s well-established Australian Industry Capability Program and Local Industry Capability Plan. It also extends the requirement to include opportunities for Australian industry on all Defence procurements of $4 million, and above $7.5 million for construction.
  • The policy ensures local Australian businesses have more opportunities to benefit from our $200 billion-plus investment in Defence capability over the next decade, ensuring we create Australian jobs and a sovereign Australian defence industry.
  • The policy ensures local Australian businesses have more opportunities to benefit from our $200 billion-plus investment in Defence capability over the next decade, ensuring we create Australian jobs and a sovereign Australian defence industry.
  • The policy also supports the Government’s long-term vision for an Australian industry that is positioned to meet Defence’s requirements and generate economic growth and jobs across Australia.
  • The $230 million Centre for Defence Industry Capability works closely with industry to help it take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities. This includes the awarding of 80 Capability Improvement Grants to help companies prepare and to be more competitive to do business with Defence.
  • The first Australian Defence Industrial Capability Plan lays out how we will build the Defence industry Australia needs. This includes a dedicated annual Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grants program, providing up to $17 million to Australian small and medium enterprises to assist them to purchase essential equipment, such as enhancing cyber security, providing access to specialist training, or the ability to attain appropriate accreditations and certificates.
  • The Defence Export Strategy, Defence Export Advocate, $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility and $20 million annually in extra export promotion to help Australian defence industry market its capabilities to our friends and allies overseas for a sustainable Australian defence industry.
  • Expanding access to Efic, the Export Credit Agency, to enable Australian companies to access a range of specialist finance solutions to expand their business and help them secure export-related contracts in new markets.
  • Continuing to grow the Global Supply Chain program, giving Australian companies a foot in the door for greater access to global markets through the supply chains of defence prime companies.

Keeping defence on the cutting edge

Ensuring Australia has access to and control of vitally important capabilities to keep the ADF on the cutting edge of new technologies.The Sovereign Industrial Capability Assessment Framework and the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities establish key areas for research and development, which is then backed-up with funding to ensure they are developed in Australia.

The Coalition Government has committed $1.6 billion to ensure our Defence Forces remain at the cutting edge of technology by expanding opportunities for Australia’s innovation and research and development organisations to continue to challenge, expand and grow their knowledge base and skills:

  • The Next Generation Technologies Fund has invested more than $130 million in long-term research programs aligned with Defence priorities, along with over 130 research activities with 24 Australian universities and 15 small and medium enterprises.
  • The Defence Innovation Hub has received over 820 innovation proposals and awarded more than $109 million in contracts. More than 80 per cent of investments have been with micro, small and medium businesses.
Enhancing our cyber warfare and security workforce and resilience

New and more complex security threats in cyberspace will be an important part of our future security environment. The cyber threat to Australia is growing. Cyber attacks are a real and present threat to the ADF’s warfighting ability as well as to the rest of government and Australia’s economy and critical infrastructure.

To counter the growing threat of cyber attack, the Coalition Government has improved our national cyber security capabilities. Defence’s cyber security capabilities have been strengthened to protect the ADF’s warfighting and information networks.

The Australian Signals Directorate and the Australian Cyber Security Centre are at the forefront of the broader contribution to enhanced national cyber security efforts, which include better coordinated cyber security capabilities and working further with industry and academia to counter the threat of cyber attack.

The Coalition Government’s landmark $230 million Cyber Security Strategy has also been a key catalyst for change across the economy. We have streamlined our national cyber security structures across the Departments of Defence and Home Affairs, we have invested in strong cyber defences (across government and the rest of the economy), we have spread our global cyber engagement, and we have focussed on growing a cyber-smart nation.

But there is more to do. Cyber crime continues to cost our economy billions of dollars a year, particularly impacting families, small and medium sized businesses and families. We need to take a proactive approach to ensuring that Australians and Australian businesses can fight back against these criminals. And we need to grow our cyber and STEM workforce to ensure that we have the right people with the right skills to fill roles across the ADF, Defence, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), defence and other industry and the broader economy.

A re-elected Morrison Government will therefore make a $156 million investment in further enhancing our cyber resilience and workforce – particularly across the ADF and the ASD/ACSC, as well as strengthening our broader cyber security resilience and response across small business, older Australians and families. This will be a significant further investment in the development of our national cyber security workforce, which will have economy wide flow-on impacts. We will:

Invest $80 million to expand the Australian Defence Force’s and Australian Signals Directorate’s cyber operations and workforce capabilities, by:

  • Accelerating the creation of 230 positions for military cyber operations specialists in the ADF over the next four years, significantly enhancing existing capabilities.
    • By bringing forward these positions, we will be able to deliver the required number of cyber operations personnel in less than half the time originally forecast.
    • A targeted recruitment program will be launched to attract interested Australians.
  • As part of our cyber operations targeted recruitment program, building on our highly successful ADF Gap Year Program to create up to 100 new gap year positions each year that are focussed on cyber and information warfare domains to encourage young Australians, particularly women, to embark on a cyber-related career.
    • In 2018-19, the ADF Gap Year Program received over 5,500 applications, yet only about 10 per cent of applicants were successful in securing a position.
    • By building a cyber-warfare focussed cohort, we will encourage, inspire and educate young Australians in the cyber domain – ready to join the ADF in military cyber operations specialist and related roles; to join the Australian Signals Directorate in specialist cyber intelligence related roles; to join defence industry; or undertake further studies in the field.
  • Establishing a Countering Foreign Cyber Criminals capability within ASD and the ACSC, and drawing on the expertise of the Australian Federal Police, that will use our advanced cyber capabilities to combat the increasingly sophisticated organised cyber crime gangs.
    • Most cyber crimes and scams against Australians originate overseas. This makes it difficult for domestic law enforcement authorities to investigate, prosecute, and shut down offenders.
    • Developing a Counter Foreign Cyber Criminal capability will create a capability to both defend against and fight back against cyber criminals overseas, including scammers, fraudsters and those involved in child exploitation.
  • Growing the Australian Government’s Cyber Security ‘SPRINT’ Teams, to develop cyber partnerships with owners and operators of critical infrastructure to be ready to respond to any emerging national security threats.

Create a $50 million Cyber Security National Workforce Growth Program, that builds on initiatives set out in our Cyber Security Strategy, and brings together Defence, Home Affairs, law enforcement, other government agencies, defence and wider industry, and academia under the leadership of the National Cyber Security Adviser, to further develop and implement a range of initiatives to grow the available national cyber workforce pool and inspire young Australians and students into cyber related careers. This will build on the significant efforts we have made as a result of the Cyber Security Strategy and have significant flow-on benefits to industry and the broader economy. This will include:

  • Scholarships for postgraduate, undergraduate and TAFE studies directly associated with cyber security. A minimum of 50 per cent of scholarships will be made available to female students.
  • Support for cyber security challenges and educational activities that are targeted primary school, high school, and tertiary students, inspiring and training them to take up a career in cyber related fields (this includes programs such as CyberTaipan, the Cyber Security Challenge Australia (CySCA), and the Cyber Experience Platform).
  • Development of specialist cyber security related courses, which directly meet the needs of Defence, government and industry.
  • Building on Questacon’s Engineering is Elementary pilot program – educating teachers about increasing student interest in engineering and other STEM field in a national rollout of the program, which will train 1,000 primary school teachers from every state and territory around the country.
    • Evidence suggests that getting primary school aged children interested in STEM subjects from an early age encourages them to into STEM careers over the long term. This will help drive a STEM-cyber workforce of the future.
  • Development of work experience placements and government/industry exchanges to help develop the practical skills of our national cyber security workforce.
  • Supporting Women in Cyber mentoring and coaching programs that help promote a diverse cyber workforce.

Invest $26 million to expand the role of the Australian Cyber Security Centre to help businesses and families address cyber security issues and helping to support the wider Australian economy. This includes:

  • Developing a comprehensive online cyber security training program, which focusses on providing practical cyber advice for small businesses, older Australians and Australian families. This will help them to avoid becoming victims of increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals, especially in relation to online transactions, identity theft and internet banking.
  • Expanding the ACSC’s 24/7 hotline for reporting cyber security incidents to include a dedicated helpdesk for small and medium sized businesses, older Australians and families.
    • Evidence suggests that 43 per cent of cyber attacks cost small businesses on average $10,000 per attack and that they have limited knowledge and capacity to protect themselves or recover after a cyber security incident.
    • The help desk will employ specially trained staff who can provide tailored technical cyber security advice for these groups, including advice that prevents, and responds to, cyber security incidents.
    • The help desk will provide free advice and support to those recovering from a malicious cyber incident – such as data breaches, scams, fraud and identity theft – to equip them to get back on line.
  • Working with industry and Home Affairs to develop a voluntary code of practice to improve the security of consumer ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) devices in Australia. This will help inform manufacturers of the security features that consumers will expect from their IoT devices, particularly as 5G technology is rolled out.
  • Auditing the cyber security arrangements of defence industry contractors, particularly those involved in our $90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan, to ensure that we protect our cutting edge military capability.
    • International experience shows that defence industry sub-contractors can often be the weakest link when it comes to cyber security, so it is essential that we ensure appropriate arrangements are in place to secure our more than $200 billion investment in Defence capability over the next decade.
  • Updating our 2016 Cyber Security Strategy to take account of developments in cyber security over the past three years.

Protecting Australia from cyber threats is one of our greatest defence and national security challenges and only the Morrison Government is delivering the strong economy necessary to invest in our cyber warfare and security capabilities and workforce.

Supporting Australia’s defence personnel

At the heart of Australia’s Defence Forces are the men and women who proudly wear the uniform. The Morrison Government will continue to support Australia’s former, current and future Defence personnel, by:

  • Implementing significant workforce reform – making it easier for members leaving the ADF to continue to serve our nation in a permanent capacity or in the Reserves, and also return to the full time force.
  • Ensuring that the transition from the ADF into civilian life is as seamless as possible by providing a full range of support and services, including:
    • Implementing a new needs-based model of transition support, ensuring more members and their families receive the support they need.
    • Providing enhanced support for Defence families by extending the Job Search Preparation program to include a program designed specifically for partners of transitioning members.
    • Delivering additional support services through the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program and ex-service organisations.
    • Improving the format of ADF Member and Family Transition Seminars to allow attendees to tailor their experience.
    • Ensuring that all ADF personnel leaving the military now have an individual transition plan, a record of professional military education and training, unit posting and employment history, and copies of all entitlements and medical records.
    • Implementing programs to meet the needs of separating personnel at risk of a poor transition, those transitioning with complex medical conditions and partners of members transitioning for medical reasons.
    • Providing access to ADF Transition Coaches to help ADF personnel develop tailored career plans and provide additional support where required.
    • Rolling out our new network of Veterans’ Wellbeing Centres nationwide.
  • Allowing former members to contribute to their ADF Super even after they have transitioned to a new employer, allowing them the option to maintain one super account over working life.
  • Expanding access to the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme and the Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme for ex-ADF members.
  • Continuing to invest in our Non-Liability Health Care program, providing free and immediate treatment for all mental health conditions for current and former ADF members – uncapped and demand driven.
  • Introducing stronger protections for Reservists when they provide service.
  • Continuing the ADF Gap Year program for school leavers.
  • Establishing a Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service to provide a forum for women and families to have a direct voice to the Government on issues that impact ADF families and the unique challenges of women who wear our nation’s uniform.

The Choice

Only the Morrison Government can be trusted to invest the resources necessary to keep Australia safe and continue to strengthen Australia’s Defence Forces.

Under Labor’s weak border protection policies, the boats restarted.The Navy was diverted from strategic tasks to deal with asylum seeker vessels, placing Australian lives in dangerous and difficult circumstances.Circumstance that were preventable and which cost thousands of lives and cost billions of dollars.

Now they have announced they will ‘pause’ the project after the Coalition Government got it back on track.

In six years Labor didn’t build one naval vessel in an Australian yard – the shipbuilding ‘Valley of Death’ is indeed ‘Labor’s Valley of Death’.

In 2012-13, Labor slashed the Defence budget by over 10 per cent in real teams, causing Defence investment to fall to 1.56 per cent of GDP – the lowest level since 1938.Overall, Labor cut over $18 billion from the Defence budget while it was in Government.

Under Labor 119 Defence projects were delayed, 43 projects reduced and eight cancelled.

The choice is clear: Labor pays lip service to Defence but then treats it like an ATM when it runs out of money to pay for their unaffordable spending promises and half-baked schemes.

The Morrison Government will increase the Defence budget to 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product by 2020-21, three years ahead of our original commitment.

To meet our funding commitments and keep Australian’s safe and secure, we need to keep our economy strong.The Morrison Government is providing greater certainty for investment.Greater certainty for jobs.And greater certainty for the Australian Defence Force.

Combined, this ensures a stronger Australian defence industry, creating opportunities for Australian defence exports, and laying the foundation for a globally competitive Australian defence industry.

The Morrison Government is providing greater certainty for investment, greater certainty for jobs and greater certainty for the Australian Defence Force.


The Coalition’s Plan for Stronger Defence and Defence Industry will not place additional costs on the Budget.