Australia warns of “assertive China” in Federal Budget

The Australian Government has warned of a “significant shift” in regional security as it justified increased defence spending in its newly released Federal Budget papers.

The documents, examined by Asia Markets upon their release today, speak of growing uncertainty around the current “strategic environment” in the Asia Pacific and the need to act.

“(We are) increasing our capacity to respond to the ever-growing challenges we are seeing from national security threats,” the Government asserts.

“The rules-based international order has, for decades, supported peace and stability (and) Australia has benefited from this world order (but) this is now under threat.”

Preparing for tensions with China

The documents go on to warn of “state based actors” threatening the country’s economy and strategic interests, before mentioning the tense relationship with China.

“The world has entered a period of escalating strategic competition,” they say.

“We are seeing this occur in our region and globally, particularly with an increasingly assertive China.”

How much is Australia spending on defence?

The Scott Morrison Government says it is delivering on its commitment to bring defence funding back above two per cent of GDP.

“In this Budget, the Government has committed to building a new submarine base on the east coast of Australia, as part of a more than $10 billion investment in future submarine infrastructure,” the Government says.

“Up to $4.3 billion will be invested in a large vessel dry berth in Western Australia.

“The Government is taking steps to secure additional land in Adelaide on which to build the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Construction Yard, in particular land adjacent to the existing Osborne North Shipyard.

“This investment means Australia will be able to defend its interests over the coming decades as part of our plan for a stronger future.”