PM flags defence spending increase ahead of expected submarine deal reveal
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to unveil details of Australia's pending deal to buy nuclear submarines from the US and UK early next week after flagging an increase to defence spending.
It comes following reports in Nine newspapers saying some of the extra spending for the project will be confirmed in the weeks leading up to May's federal budget
Albanese is on his way to the US, where it is expected more detail will be given for the AUKUS arrangement. The total cost of the deal to Australia is estimated at $100 billion, and the prime minister indicated defence spending is likely to go up as a result.
READ MORE: Australia set 'to buy up to five US nuclear submarines'
"I said consistently that we will need a minimum of 2 per cent of GDP, but I expect that defence spending will increase," he said in India yesterday.
"We need to make sure that we invest more in our defence.
"You don't just pluck a figure out in order to get a headline in a newspaper. We'll invest in what is needed."
His predecessor, Scott Morrison, said earlier this week that defence spending needs to go as high as 2.5 per cent of GDP in the wake of the deal.
LNP Senator Matt Canavan told Today the submarine deal was a "positive development".
"The former Coalition Government kick-started this with the decision to acquire nuclear subs," Canavan said.
"The issue always was going to be how long it was going to take for us to get them
"Good for our country's defence especially given increasing risks in the region."
On the shopping list is the Virginia-class submarine built in the US, which Australia is reportedly set to buy up to five of in the 2030s.
Also sought is the Astute Class submarine from the UK. Those subs are still being designed and aren't expected to enter service until the 2040s, but Australia is set to receive eight of them.
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