Australia's new defence a export push a boost for WA firms

Australia wants to become a world leader in the production and sales of weapons

Malcolm Turnbull on Monday unveiled his government's $US3.1 billion "defence export strategy" which outlines the policy and strategy to make Australia one of the world's top 10 weapons exporters by 2028.

The country's defense industry has struggled to obtain finance from traditional lenders that have been unwilling to fund the arms industry, so it has created the loan scheme for companies seeking finance to export military equipment.

He added that exporting arms to Europe, Asia and the Middle East could potentially come down the track.

"It will provide confidence to our defence industry to identify and pursue new export opportunities, knowing that when a deal stacks up and export finance is needed, it'll be there", he said.

The vehicles have been purchased by foreign militaries around the world, including Jamaica, Japan, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

The lighter Hawkei vehicle, also manufactured by Thales, has been singled out in the government's strategy as a promising export prospect.

Two weeks ago, Mr Turnbull was in Tokyo, showing off the Australian Bushmaster troop-carrier trucks to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"There are possibilities, but I doubt U.S. interest especially will go beyond niche capabilities", said Euan Graham, director of the worldwide security program at Australian think tank the Lowy Institute.




"I'm very supportive of any proposal that creates jobs, that's the starting point" senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese told ABC Radio.

However, Mr Turnbull said nations could not forgo defence spending because the "price of liberty is eternal vigilance".

Head of the World Vision charity Tim Costello has previously denounced the government's arms export drive as "exporting death and profiting from bloodshed". She said the country was bound by various global treaties and would negotiate sales on a "case by case" basis.

Such a plan marks a significant ramp up in Australia's arms exports.

The government is expected to spend $20 million per year to implement and support the new defence export strategy.

The strategy identifies the other "five eyes" countries - the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand - as top priority markets.

"This isn't about providing weapons or arms to rogue regimes or anything like that", Ciobo told Nine Network television.

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