Why did the Australian government give $1.9 billion to the US?
Updated May 15, 2019 17:23:36 An $8.6 billion US military aid package announced by the federal government last week has been revealed to be an example of a deliberate misallocation of funds.
Key points: The $1 billion in military aid will go to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the Philippines The US will be paying a 25 per cent discount on military purchases Australia’s defence industry has suffered under the Obama administration since the election of Donald Trump In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump announced the $1bn US aid package for the Pacific region.
He also said he would work with allies and others to secure a long-term security agreement with Japan and South Korea.
Defence and security Australia’s Defence Industry Association (DIA) and Defence Infrastructure Australia (DIFA) are set to receive the bulk of the money.
But Defence Industry Minister David Johnston says the US military will be reimbursing the Australian Government for about 25 per,cent of the deal.
“This is a very large amount of money,” Mr Johnston told reporters in New York.
The $8 billion is in addition to the $4.5 billion the US government already pays to Australia to maintain the military bases in Australia, in addition, it will also give Australia up to $1billion for training and support of the US Pacific Command, which includes the Pacific Command in Hawaii and Guam.
Mr Johnston said the US was working with other countries to secure long-lasting security agreements.
He said the money would be spent on “national defence” and “national security interests”.
The money is to be used to bolster Australia’s military.
A DIA spokesman said that the total cost of the $8bn would be about $3.5bn, including $1-billion from the US, and $2.5billion from Australia.
There are currently six Pacific Command stations in Australia and a fifth is under construction in Hawaii.
But the DIA said that in 2017 the US announced it would cut back its presence in Australia by about 40 per cent.
DIA president and CEO, John Lewis, said the new aid package was a “significant step in the right direction”.
“The Australian Government is committed to maintaining Australia’s strong defence and security relationship with the US,” he said.
And in his speech to the General Assembly on Monday, Mr Johnston said that Australia’s new military allies were also being made “more robust”.
Mr Lewis said the Pacific Alliance was the strongest defence partnership between the US and Australia in more than two decades.
In the Pacific, he said the alliance was “a strong military partner” and would continue to contribute to regional security.
Australia’s Pacific Command was set up by former US President George W Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to help support Australia’s counter-terrorism mission.
It has an estimated 30,000 personnel in the Pacific and is based in Hawaii, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic/Nepal Territories.