A recently unveiled 3.8 billion dollar plan by the Turnbull government sets Australia on the path to becoming one of the world’s top ten exporters of arms.
The government’s strategy is intended to create jobs, and bolster our floundering defence manufacturing industry, which has difficulty sustaining itself on the needs of the Australian Defence Force alone. The boost in exports will get local manufactures and factories pumping out far more product, and hopefully revitalising the industry.
“This strategy is about job creation. It will give Australian defence companies the support they need to grow, invest and deliver defence capability. It will make Australian defence exports among the best in the world,” Mr Turnbull explained.
Currently, Australia exports about $2 billion worth of defence equipment each year – a very meagre figure in comparison to the UK’s annual $10 billion in defence exports. The crowning jewel of the strategy will be a new financing facility that will make up to $3.8 billion available to Australian defence companies looking to sell their product overseas.
Primarily, the strategy will focus on the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand as priority markets. The reasoning for this is so that sensitive intelligence technologies will be protected, and exports will benefit Australia’s key global allies while also bolstering our own economy. However, the expanding of our arms exports will not be restricted to these allies – the government is hoping to boost exporting in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The government has promised that the export deals will not interfere with Australia’s international obligations, including arms control. However, the inherent danger whenever arms are sold into volatile places, is that they might end up in the wrong hands. Hopefully, the correct safeguards are enacted to avoid this. The announcement of the strategy is framed in conjunction with the governments recent promises to invest $200 billion into the Australian Defence Force over the next decade – a record breaking figure.