Spending boost to fight extremist groups

AAP
Spending boost to fight extremist groups

The Turnbull government is providing more money to fight terrorism both at home and abroad.

"The first duty of a national government is to keep Australians safe," Treasurer Scott Morrison told parliament on Tuesday.

But what the nation's two spy agencies - the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation (domestic) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (overseas) - are getting remains a secret.

The Australian Federal Police, as previously announced, will get an additional $321.4 million over four years to spend on 100 additional intelligence experts, more than 100 tactical response and covert surveillance operators and almost 100 forensic specialists.

In the wake of recent terrorism attacks in London and Stockholm as well as France, Belgium, Turkey and Indonesia, the government is stumping up more cash to fight extremist groups abroad.

Operation Okra, Australia's commitment to fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, will receive an additional $430 million in 2017-18.

There are 780 Australian troops in the Middle East mentoring Iraqi soldiers, doing special operations and carrying out airstrikes as part of a broader coalition.

As well there are 270 Australians serving in Afghanistan as part of Operation Highroad which will receive an extra $72.8 million in 2017-18.

Overall, defence spending is up six per cent in 2017-18 to $34.6 billion, a figure that represents 1.9 per cent of gross domestic product.

Despite the funding boost Defence will forgo $304.1 million over four years as the number of consultants and contractors is reduced.

The government is on track to reach its commitment of defence spending reaching two per cent of gross domestic product by 2020-21 as outlined in last year's Defence white paper.