The Blue Paper Project

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THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT SPENDS
$11 BILLION ON MILITARY FORCES EVERY YEAR

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The largest item of expenditure is salaries and superannuation, $4,123 million in 1997-98. The government wants to expand combat forces from 24,000 in 1996 to 32,000 in 2001. Salary costs will shoot up.

According to government figures the next largest category of expenditure is capital equipment and facilities. Billions are spent on submarines, military aircraft, frigates and other capital items. It amounts to $3 billion a year.

A total of 230 major capital equipment acquisition projects had been approved by mid-1998 worth an estimated total of $41,000 million.

Prime Minister Howard has declared the government's intention to spend larger amounts from 2002 onwards.

These are very large amounts of scarce government funds.

It has been estimated by State governments that an extra $600 million spent on public hospitals each year would overcome their critical shortcomings.

Similarly huge strides could be made in upgrading schools, reducing the cost of university education, supporting childcare, assisting the needy in our community and maximising employment opportunities in Australia if a good portion of these finances were available outside spending on the military.

What is the money spent on now?

The following tables list the major categories of spending on Australian military forces and the major capital equipment expenditure programs in 1997-98. They are from the "Defence Annual Report 1997-98", Defence Publishing Service, 1998. This was issued late in 1998. It was the latest available material at the time of writing.


 
Defence Spending by Category
.
1997-98
Actual $m
.
Percentage
of Total
 
Service Salaries & Superannuation
3,240
29.7%
Civilian Salaries & Superannuation
883
8.1%
Total Salaries & Superannuation
4,123
36.8%
Capital Equipment
2,505
23.0%
Capital Equipment
502
4.6%
Total Capital Equip't & Facilities
3,007
27.6%
Maintenance & Stores
1,832
16.8%
Administrative Expenses
1,359
12.5%
Defence Cooperation
63
0.6%
Other
531
4.8%
Total Spending
10,910
100.0%


Major Capital Equipment Expenditure - The Top 20 Projects

 
.
.
Project
Cost $m
.
Spent to 30/6/98
$m
.
Spent
1997-98
$m
 
Maritime & Ground
.
.
.
Anzac Ship (Frigate)
6,037.6
3,941.7
449.4
Collins Class Submarine
5,003.0
4,605.4
119.7
Minehunter Coastal
1,193.3
707.3
195.9
Light Armoured Vehicle
343.2
262.4
19.2
Hydrographic Ship
214.2
130.3
62.9
Landing Platform Amphibious
98.3
42.2
22.1
Evolved Seasparrow Missile
118.6
91.9
90.8
Aerospace
.
.
.
Strategic Lift Aircraft (C-130J)
953.9
531.8
39.3
Lead-In Fighter Capability
836.3
218.4
147.9
F/A18 Upgrade
200.1
30.1
19.9
Chinook Helicopters
73.5
37.0
37.0
Anzac Ship Helicopter
787.3
245.2
160.8
Airflift Simulators
59.1
36.8
23.7
P-3C Electronic Support
207.3
187.1
25.7
P-3C Aircraft Update
756.0
453.2
124.5
Electronic Systems
..
.
.
High Frequency Modernisation
515.2
32.2
32.2
Active Missile Decoy
169.6
61.1
39.4
Jindalee Radar Network
1120.0
752.0
36.2
Wagtail Tactical Radios
85.5
35.0
23.2
Military Air Traffic System
190.3
114.7
30.2
Top 20 Total
18,962.3
12,515.7
1,700.0


There were another 210 approved projects in mid-1998. Total estimated costs of these projects was $41,000 million. But the costs on many big capital equipment projects blew out including the Strategic Lift aircraft, the Collins Class Submarines, the Hydrographic ship and the Jindalee Radar projects. Now the military wants more.