Defence to boost to 100k strong workforce

Australia’s defence workforce will be boosted to more than 100,000 people under a new plan announced by the prime minister and defence minister.

The expansion – first flagged as part of a 2020 defence force structure plan – is slated to grow the defence workforce by around 18,500 people by 2040.

The growth is estimated to come at a cost of at least $38 billion between 2024 and 2040.


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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the increase will result in almost 80,000 permanent Australian Defence Force personnel – a 30 per cent increase – and a total permanent workforce of over 101,000 by 2040.

“Our world is becoming increasingly uncertain so it’s important we take steps now to protect our people and our national interest over the coming decades,” Mr Morrison said.

“You can’t flick a switch to increase your army, navy and air force overnight. Growing the type of people and skills we need to face the threats of the future takes time, so we must start now so critical skills can be taught and experience gained.”

The federal government has also committed to increasing the defence workforce by around 800 ADF personnel, 250 public servants and additional Australian Signals Directorate employees in the four years to 2024.

Capabilities associated with the trilateral AUKUS security partnership with the United Kingdom and United States will become a focus for the expansion.

This includes “warfighting capabilities” in the domains of space, and information and cyber, Defence Minister Peter Dutton said.

“This growth in workforce and expertise will enable us to deliver our nuclear powered submarines, ships, aircraft and advanced weapons.

“It will also build the resilience we need in critical areas and enable our people to increase intelligence, information and communications capacity.”

© AAP 2022