Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Australia set to become top ten global arms exporter

Australia is set to become a major arms exporter with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to unveil a new Australia is set to become a major arms exporter with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to unveil a new"defence strategy
Melinda Barton | 30 January, 2018, 00:56

Turnbull's government has said it will undertake the "most comprehensive regeneration of our Navy since the Second World War".

Speaking at a media conference alongside Mr Turnbull today, Minister for Defence Industries Christopher Pyne addressed concerns regarding new export target markets.

The country's defense industry has struggled to obtain finance from traditional lenders that have been unwilling to fund the arms industry, so it has created the loan scheme for companies seeking finance to export military equipment.

The Australian government will also seek to boost sales to Europe and to Asia and the Middle East, where countries are rapidly building up arms caches.

"A strong, exporting defence industry in Australia will provide greater certainty of investment, support high-end manufacturing jobs and support the capability of the ADF", Mr Turnbull said.

"This is all about Australian jobs", Mr Turnbull told reporters on Monday, adding that "the goal is to get into the top 10".

"There are possibilities, but I doubt United States interest especially will go beyond niche capabilities", said Euan Graham, director of the global security program at Australian think tank the Lowy Institute.

She said the strategy sets out an opportunity for a "sovereign defence industry" in Australia.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the announcement showed Mr Turnbull wanted Australia to become a "massive exporter of death", criticising Australia's history of selling defence products to Saudi Arabia.

Save the Children's Australian CEO Paul Ronalds said the charity was well aware of the need to tackle the threat of terrorism, especially in the wake last week's attack on their Afghanistan office.

Head of the World Vision charity Tim Costello has previously denounced the government's arms export drive as "exporting death and profiting from bloodshed".

The government will also spend $20 million a year to support the new strategy.

Priority markets for Australian arms include the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific, the government said.

Australia saw a record number of jobs created previous year, but its manufacturing sector has shrunk significantly following the end of domestic auto manufacturing.

"This isn't about providing weapons or arms to rogue regimes or anything like that", Ciobo told Nine Network television.