Defence Gains The Funding It Was Promised

4 May 2016

Defence was given exactly the funding it was promised and the government's goal of taking defence spending to two per cent of gross domestic product remains in reach, a defence expert says.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute budget analyst Dr Mark Thomson said defence funding would reach $323.4 billion in 2016/17, about the same as this year but a slightly smaller portion of GDP, 1.88 per cent because of the growing economy.

Dr Thomson said the budget was pretty unexciting from a defence perspective, doing exactly what they promised they'd do in the Defence White Paper, although with one small wrinkle.

"As a result, the goal of spending two per cent of GDP in 2020/21 remains within reach," he said in an analysis of the budget on the ASPI blog.

The wrinkle is that $500 million of funding planned for 2016/17 has been pushed out to the following year. Budget papers term that a "defence budget rephasing" with the money deferred to better align with planned spending.

Dr Thomson said there was nothing wrong with that and similar adjustments could be expected in years ahead as demands of the multi-billion investment program evolve.


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