Australia to spend close to $1bn on cybersecurity push

Australia to spend nearly $1bn over next 10 years to boost cyber security

Australia's prime minister on Wednesday announced 270 billion Australian dollars in additional defence spending over the next decade, which will include long-range missiles and other capabilities to hold enemies further from its shores.

Australia will invest $1.35 billion in cyber security, including recruiting more specialists, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, amid an increasing wave of hacking attempts against the country.

As part of the strategic pivot, the Australian Defence Force will focus on building "stronger deterrence capabilities" to raise the cost for any would-be aggressor and concentrate on the immediate region over operations further afield, he said.

The 2016 paper included an eye toward support around the globe for the rules-based order - such as its aerial support of the USA coalition in Iraq and Syria.

He said Australia would vigorously defend its democratic values and those of others in the region, adding that increasing military capabilities would help "to prevent war".

"We remain prepared to make military contributions outside of our immediate region where it is in our national interest to do so, including in support of USA -led coalitions", Morrison said.

He will also issued a warning to anyone wanting to challenge us.

The moves come at a time when the pandemic is sharpening aspects of competition between the USA and China, according to a newly released defence strategy document.

The government's top priority is "protecting our nation's economy, national security and sovereignty", Morrison said in a statement.

Soldiers of the China's People's Liberation Army march during the Victory Day Parade in Moscow on June 24.

She said Australia had always welcomed the economic rise of China and would "encourage China to be a productive and a peaceful partner in our region".

China has warned its students and tourists against going to Australia, slapped trade sanctions on Australian goods and sentenced an Australian citizen to death for drug trafficking.

Though Morrison says Australia remains prepared to send troops further afield "where it is in our national interest to do so", that can not come at the cost of its ability to respond to threats from and in its own backyard, he will say.

The US, Russia and China have been in a race to develop the hi-tech weapons, which can travel at least five times the speed of sound and are nearly impossible to intercept.

Since coming to power in 2013, Morrison's conservatives say they have increased the nation's defense spending from 1.56% of gross domestic product - the lowest level since 1938 - to an estimated 2% this year "despite the many pressures on the budget".

The 2020 Force Structure Plan now includes plans for the acquisition or upgrade of up to 23 different classes of navy and army vessels, representing a total investment of as much as A$183 billion.

"We want a Indo-Pacific free from coercion and hegemony. And to do that you've got to have a responsible deterrent".

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