Huge cost of nuclear submarines to burden Australia

HMS Audacious construction

Australian government debt has risen faster than any other major country over the last two decades.

Federal government debt has grown by 221 per cent since 2000 to over 44% of GDP, more than any other G20 nation.

Two major drivers of the debt increase is the continued provision of generous tax loopholes to wealthy LNP supporters and a hugely wasteful defence program.

These big three defence projects are set to push Australia even further into the red:

  1. Nuclear submarines: $100 billion plus
  2. Nine hunter-class frigates: $45 billion plus
  3. Tanks and armoured vehicles: $42 billion plus

None of these make Australia any safer. All are primarily to fight wars somewhere else, not for defending Australia.

  1. Sophisticated non-nuclear submarines can operate more quietly than nuclear submarines and remain submerged for weeks – and cost under $1 billion each.
  2. The new B21 bomber would be a far more cost-effective and survivable way of discouraging hostile shipping from attacking Australia than slow, vulnerable and expensive frigates.
  3. Relatively cheap truck-mounted anti-ship missiles could engage enemy ships far out at sea – a far better plan than ‘fighting them on the beaches’ with lumbering, expensive tanks.

The Australian Democrats have taken the best expert advise on how to cost-effectively defend Australia – see our platform here.



  1. Implementing Australia’s nuclear submarine program (Andrew Nicholls, Jackson Dowie & Marcus Hellyer, ASPI, Dec 2021)
  2. Australia drives up debt to Menzian levels with no end in sight (The Age, Dec 2021)
  3. Why is Australia still investing in a “balanced” defence force? (Hans J. Ohff and Jon Stanford, ASPI, July 2021)
  4. Is the B-21 bomber a viable option for Australia? (Marcus Hellyer, ASPI)
  5. HMS Audacious under construction image (Wikipedia)
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