Ministers shoot down Defence funding shortfall report

Analysis arguing Australia won't be able to scale up its defence in time for war is "not true," the assistant defence minister says.

The analysis comes despite a $50 billion cash injection over the next decade, announced by Defence Minister Richard Marles and outlined in the federal budget.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute's latest report found more urgent funding was needed to ensure "swift increases in capabilities that the Australian Defence Force would need if our region were to deteriorate quickly".

But Matt Thistlethwaite labelled the findings "simply not true".

"If you look at the recent announcement of our national defence strategy, what we're doing is over the course of the next four years we're investing an additional $5.7 billion," he told Sky News on Monday.

"We've got a lot of capability that comes online in the next four years because the government's making those investments."

The budget increases were "directed towards strengthening the Australian Defence Force's ability to fight in the next decade", the institute claimed as it welcomed the extra funding.

"This is not doom-mongering; the government has acknowledged that the warning time before any conflict, which had long been set at 10 years, has shrunk to effectively zero time," it said.

Richard Marles speaks at the Shangri-La Dialogue
Defence Minister Richard Marles highlighted China's provocations at a military summit in Singapore. (AP PHOTO)

Mr Marles has insisted the increased defence budget and shift to focus on projecting Australian firepower deeper into the Pacific following a landmark review in the military meant the nation was on track to meet future challenges.

A spokeswoman for Mr Marles pointed to an additional $5.7 billion over the next four years.

"This includes additional money for navy's surface combatant fleet and for long-range strike capabilities," the spokeswoman told AAP in a statement.

"We said there would be more money in defence ... and it's there in black and white."

Mr Marles used a recent speech to note Australia was not trying to be on a par with China or the United States in any future competition but would be a highly relevant player because of its position in the region.

The report comes in the context of grave warnings from Beijing about the forceful re-integration of Taiwan, with the island democracy seen by the Chinese leadership as an inalienable part of China.

The international community has warned about China making any unilateral changes to the status quo on Taiwan in what has become a a key point of tension in the region.

Beijing regularly sends its military across the Taiwan Strait and practice war drills around the island.

China's Defence Minister Dong Jun used an address at a military conference in Singapore to vow Taiwan would never be independent and the path to a peaceful reunification was narrowing.

Mr Marles used his address to the conference to warn of the "increasingly concerning trend" of provocative actions by the Chinese military.

The two defence ministers met on Saturday on the sidelines of the conference, where Mr Marles said he raised interactions between the Australian and Chinese militaries but would not detail Mr Dong's reply.