Less than a week out from the Federal Budget, the Government today revealed plans to cut billions of dollars from defence spending.

It’s also brought forward key policy research into future defence needs.

Casey Fung reports.


Julia Gillard announced the defence white paper will be released in 2013, one year ahead of schedule.

But it outlines a $2 billion cut in defence spending as part of the government’s target to deliver a budget surplus.

The measures include cutting $1.6 billion over four years by delaying delivery of new joint-strike fighter jets.

And there will be savings to flow on from an earlier withdrawal from Afghanistan and a reduced role in East Timor.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “There have been a number of significant developments domestically and internationally since the last white paper was published. Which makes it right to start work on a new white paper now.”

Defence Minister Stephen Smith assured overseas operations funding would not be affected.

Neither would the promised $214 million for design and analysis of 12 new $40 billion submarines.

Stephen Smith, Defence Minister: “This will be the largest defence capibility project that the commonwealth has embarked upon and indeed the largest single capital works project we have embarked upon.”

Stephen Smith also hinted there could be more cuts to come in next week’s budget.

Casey Fung, QUT News.