The numbers tell the story - next year the defence budget will fall in real terms by 10.5%, the largest year‐on‐year reductions since the end of the Korean conflict in 1953.
As a result, defence spending as a share of GDP will fall to 1.56%, the smallest figure recorded by Australia since the eve of WWII in 1938. As Defence budgets go, this year’s was pretty simple. A total of $5.5 billion was cut from the Defence budget over four years. Most of the money came from reductions in capital investment, $3 billion from military equipment purchases and $1.2 billion from facilities construction.
A further $438 million is being taken from administrative belt‐tightening along with $360 million from cutting civilian numbers by 1,000 over two years. Naturally, funding for overseas deployments has been quarantined from any reduction and military numbers are (for the moment at least) being kept at previously planned levels. The only direct cuts to existing capability involve the early retirement of the remaining C‐130H aircraft offset by yet another unplanned C‐17 aircraft, and the ending of the Navy and Army gap year program.
Image: Defence Images / flickr