Australia’s defence manufacturing among big winners of new Federal Budget

Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba fires an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile during a workup period off the coast of Western Australia. Image credit:

Building Australia’s sovereign defence manufacturing capability is among the big winners of the Federal Government’s 2023-2024 Budget, gaining approximately $4.1 billion for the development of long-range missile systems. 

The “Stronger foundations for a better future” Budget, which delivers a $4.2 billion surplus, also places a heavy focus on the fundamentals of skills and the transition to a net zero economy. 

The Budget also allocates more than $1.6 billion for energy-saving upgrades for homes, businesses, and social housing, including $314 million for Small Business Energy Incentive, to provide businesses with annual turnover of less than $50 million. 

A new five-year National Skills Agreement is also receiving $3.7 billion that will provide an extra 300,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational educational training places. 

Furthermore, a $431.9 million budget will go towards a four-year effort aimed at enhancing support for small to medium enterprises and startups. 

Paul Guerra, chief executive officer of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, described the allocations of the Federal Budget for business as “modest,” but noted that the chamber is pleased to see funding towards energy cost relief, renewable energy transition, business asset write-offs, cybersecurity, innovation, the defence sector, and increasing female workforce participation. 

“As the largest connector of apprentices and trainees to employers in the country, the Victorian Chamber looks forward to being part of the plan to extend the National Skills Agreement,” Guerra said. “The Chamber hopes the 90-day freeze on infrastructure projects won’t impact committed projects such as Melbourne Airport Rail, Suburban Rail Loop and Geelong Fast Rail.”