By Marcus Hellyer*
The 2020 defence strategic update represents a remarkable commitment by the Australian government to sustained growth in the defence budget. Released on 1 July after months of bad economic news caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a growing budget deficit caused by the government’s measures to mitigate the economic pain, the update nevertheless confirms the robust funding line presented in the 2016 defence white paper and extends it for a further four years. This means the defence budget will continue to grow past 2% of GDP, and indeed at a faster rate than before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It’s planned to grow by a remarkable 87.4% over the coming decade.