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Australia expands defense budget ahead of submarines purchase

Canberra lifts nuclear ambitions in light of China's growing heft in Indo-Pacific

The Virginia-class USS North Dakota is seen in this photo provided by the U.S. Navy. The United States intends to sell Australia three Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines in the early 2030s.   © Reuters

SYDNEY -- Australia's government on Tuesday proposed a defense budget for fiscal 2023 (July 2023 to June 2024), of 42.9 billion Australian dollars ($29 billion), or 6.3% of its total public spending for the year, up from the 5.9% share estimated in October last year.

In March, Canberra announced that it would purchase nuclear submarines through AUKUS, a three-way security agreement between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The total investment is expected to be AU$368 billion over the next 30 years.

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