SYDNEY – The Australian government announced on Monday its new defense strategy which includes incentives aimed at boosting local manufacturers in the defense industry and its ambition to become one of the world’s top 10 arms exporters.
According to the plan, more than $3.079 billion will be allocated to help local manufacturers expand their businesses, as well as to set up a new Defense Export Office for military equipment, among other measures.
“This strategy is about job creation. It will give Australian defense companies the support they need to grow, invest and deliver defense capability. It will make Australian defense exports among the best in the world,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in Sydney during a joint statement with defense industry minister Christopher Pyne, defense minister Marise Payne and trade minister Steven Ciobo.
The government plans to increase the revenue generated by arms exports from $1.215 billion to $2.025 billion per year as part of its aspirations for the next decade.
Currently among the top 20 arms exporters, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2017 report, Australia is also targeting further potential customers in markets such as the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Canada, New Zealand and the Indo-Pacific region.
However, the Australian community has not entirely welcomed the expansion of weaponry sales scheme.
Marc Purcell, head of the Australian Council for International Development, criticized the announcement, saying that “in a very uncertain international environment where conflict is much more likely we should be using our diplomatic efforts to build peace.”