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Australia to boost defense spending under national strategy

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-04-17 16:44

People are silhouetted against the Sydney Opera House at sunset in Australia. [Photo/Agencies]

CANBERRA - The Australian government has announced an increase in defense spending.

In a major speech to the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles launched Australia's 2024 National Defence Strategy.

Under the strategy, Marles said annual funding for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will reach 2.4 percent of Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) and exceed 100 billion Australian dollars ($64.1 billion) by 2033-34.

According to the federal budget, defense spending in the current 2023-24 financial year will reach 52.5 billion AUD, or 2.04 percent of GDP.

The strategy recommends that the eligibility criteria to serve in the ADF be widened to include non-Australian citizens to boost recruitment and that ADF personnel be encouraged to serve longer through retention initiatives.

A government-commissioned defense strategic review that was released in April 2023 found that the ADF was no longer fit for purpose for Australia's current strategic circumstances.

The new strategy will be updated every two years to ensure defense policy, strategy, capability and planning keeps pace with the evolving strategic environment. (1 AUD equals $0.64)

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