Australia Today

Australia's Massive Military Budget

The 2025 federal budget was announced this week. This is how much the Australian government spends on the military.

The 2025 federal budget announced on Tuesday committed an additional $50.3 billion to defence over the next decade, bringing our 10-year defence spending to $764.6 billion.

$764.6 billion is an extraordinary amount of money, more than double the initial cost of the controversial stage 3 tax cuts that have since been amended.


To put $700 billion in perspective – making undergraduate university degrees completely free for all domestic students would cost about $7 billion a year or $70 billion over 10 years, according to the Australia Institute. Just 10 per cent of the defence budget.

With the new federal budget, the annual defence bill will hit a record of $53 billion this year, up from $39 billion last year, and is projected to surpass $100 billion annually by 2033, or 2.4 per cent of our GDP.

This is part of a massive defence shakeup to “keep Australia safe” amid what the Defence Minister Richard Marles called the most challenging strategic environment since World War II.

So, just looking at the bonuses included in this budget, defence got an extra $5 billion for this year alone.


That’s more than Commonwealth Rent Assistance that, for just this year, gets an extra $500 million; more than the $600 million boost to Services Australia, for more staff to help manage the backlog of people trying to access welfare payments; more than the changes to HECS indexation that’ll cost about $3 billion in foregone revenue; and more than the $3.5 billion cost of living relief package in the form of $300 electricity bill rebates for every household.

Also compare the $5 extra billion dollars for defence with the extra $50 million for endometriosis consultation subsidies, or the extra $73 million a year to mental health, to establish a national digital mental health referral service, or the $185 million per year to domestic violence victims, going to the Leaving Violence Program that offers $5000 payments to people fleeing abusive homes.

To explain a couple of those further…

Rent Assistance is going up – $19 a fortnight for singles as part of the government's plan to tackle the housing and cost of living crisis in its 2025 federal budget.


The maximum Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment will increase by 10 per cent from September this year, which will benefit about 1 million recipients on that rate.

The current highest payment for a single person is $188.20 a fortnight, or $125.47 for a single person in a sharehouse, and those will go up $18.80.

For families or parents with three or more children it will go up $25 a fortnight to $274.90 a fortnight.

This is also before the payments are indexed according to inflation which treasurer Jim Chalmers will add another 5 per cent. to all payments.

It will cost the government an additional $1.9 billion over the next five years.

The government will also wipe $3 billion of student debt by changing the way it’s indexed.

The new move caps the rate of indexation to make sure your debt can’t rise faster than your wages. So currently HECS or HELP loans rise a percentage every year according to the CPI, the consumer price index. That’s the measure of how the cost of goods and services rise over time. But the WPI, the wage price index measures the rate, on average, of wage growth. So now the government will introduce legislation that means student loan indexation will be calculated on whichever is lower each year, the CPI or the WPI.

The policy will also be backdated to June 1, 2023, which means last year's historically high 7.1 per cent indexation will be more than halved to the WPI of of the time which was 3.2 per cent.

This will cancel hundreds if not thousands of dollars from most people’s HECS debts and mean indexation this year and in future years will be lower than expected and mean that they’ll never grow so fast to the point where the growth outpaces the mandatory repayments from your paychecks. 

Aleksandra Bliszczyk is the Deputy Editor of VICE Australia. Follow her on Instagram.