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Australia is to increase defence spending by more than A$50bn (US$32bn) over the next decade as it prepares its military forces to be able to “resist coercion” that may arise in the Indo-Pacific.

The spending on the Australia-UK-US security pact known as Aukus, the country’s naval surface fleet, long-range missile capability and an enlarged military force will increase the defence budget as a proportion of gross domestic product from 2 per cent to 2.4 per cent by 2034, the government said.

Australia committed to an overhaul of its defence strategy in 2023, citing China’s military build-up and the rise of tensions between the US and China in the Indo-Pacific.

The new figures represent the country’s biggest defence commitment for decades, said Richard Marles, defence minister. “There is now one job at hand: transforming our future capability such that Australia can resist coercion and maintain our way of life in a much less certain region and world,” he said.

Much of the spending will be towards the back end of the decade with only A$5.7bn of the increased budget — including a long-range missile programme it had already announced — earmarked for the next four years.

Central to the overhaul has been the Aukus security agreement that will deliver nuclear-powered submarines to Australia for the first time. Australia also said this year that it would build 26 warships, giving it its largest naval fleet since the second world war.

Marcus Hellyer, head of research at Strategic Analysis Australia, said the “blizzard of numbers” released by the defence department made clear that the Labor government would pay for the nuclear submarines and new frigates with cutbacks. About A$73bn will be “reprioritised” as the government looks to reduce spending on project management, large land vehicles for the army and refuelling ships for the navy.

Sam Roggeveen, director of the Lowy Institute think-tank’s International Security Program, said there was still a significant risk of cost overruns and delays related to Aukus and other major projects towards the end of the decade even with the higher budget estimate. “We don’t need to spend a lot more on defence. We just need to spend it carefully,” he said.

Andrew Hastie, shadow defence minister and a former commander in the Special Air Services Regiment, criticised Marles for framing the defence strategy as one of “impactful projection” and said Australia needed to instead prove it had an “asymmetric vice-like grip” in its defence capabilities.

“We should be able to tear off the arm of an adversary if they come for us,” he said.

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