Australia's Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has reportedly announced that the country will raise its defense personnel by 30 % by 2040, calling it the nation's biggest military upgrade in peacetime.
The military would be expanded by 18,500 personnel to hit the 80,000 mark over the next 18 years, at a cost of approximately Aus$38 billion (US$27 billion), the prime minister stated from a Brisbane-based army barracks.
PM Morrison, who is expected to call a general election in May, stated that the government's military expansion was a response to the threats as well as environments that the country faces as a liberal democratic government in the Indo-Pacific.
According to the PM, some of the extra personnel will bolster a fleet of future nuclear-powered submarines agreed under the latest Australia-Britain-U.S. defense alliance (AUKUS) military pact.
Australia claims the submarines will be armed with customary ammunition, but it has not decided on the project's specifics, like whether to build a fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines centered on US or British models.
The AUKUS union, which was formed at a time when China's presence in the Pacific was expanding, might make Australia the only non-nuclear weapons country with nuclear-powered submarines powerful enough of traveling long distances without resurfacing.
Peter Dutton, Defense Minister, stated that the increased force, which would primarily consist of uniformed personnel, would give a genuine deterrence to imperialistic military threats.
Dutton remarked that the expansion is definitely required, looking at Russia's recent attack on Ukraine. He further added that those who assume President Putin's primary goal is to annex Ukraine are unaware of the history that Australia’s military officers are aware of.
In the wake of the election, Australia's conservative coalition government has already been touting its defense capabilities, despite a streak of polls that show the opposing Labor Party leading.
However, the government has been criticized for being too slow.
Morrison stated that the navy, air force, and army troops deployed to the flood-stricken east coast would increase to 5,748 by the end of the day.