Statement: Acquisition of Long Range Strike Capabilities

The Opposition acknowledges today’s announcement confirming progress with the acquisition of long range strike capabilities including Tomahawk cruise missiles, and other aerial and land launched missiles.

The Tomahawk purchase was originally a former Coalition Government decision associated with the game-changing AUKUS announcement in 2021.

While the Opposition welcomes progress in acquiring these important strike capabilities, it has taken 6 months since the US Congress had approved the sale to announce it.

The earlier decision in March could have been announced in May with the Budget. The Government should explain why the delay.

Since the release of the Defence Strategic Review and the Budget, it has been crystal clear that Albanese Labor has not put money where their mouths are—while they proliferate announcements and updates, there is still no new funding for defence—only cuts, cannibalisation and selectively continuing good decisions from the previous Coalition Government.

Labor is using today’s announcement to give the impression of progress on implementing the DSR when the Tomahawk purchase, and the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordinance initiative were already in train.

The reality is that industry and the Australian Defence Force are still waiting on the results of the numerous further reviews, including the surface fleet combatant review, coming out of DSR, and the vague commitment to more funding on the other side of the next election.

The strategic risk is growing. The clock is ticking. And Labor is dithering.