According to an expert from James Cook University, there is a need to expand military bases in North Queensland to counter China’s growing threat in the Indo-Pacific region.
Dr Anna Hayes, JCU’s senior lecturer in politics and international relations, said Australia and its allies are now locked in a new Cold War with China, which means stronger military resistance is needed to stop the conflict.
“An expansion to Australia’s northern bases is highly likely on the cards and I would argue that it is necessary,” Dr Hayes said.
“It is important that the people of North Australians recognize what is at stake and that deterrence is a vital element in maintaining peace in our region.
“We have to make the cost of a regional conflict big enough to prevent Beijing from actually taking any aggressive action it is planning.
“It is part of the AUKUS Trilateral Security Treaty Framework.”
Dr Hayes said dealing with future threats in the Indo-Pacific would require an increase in personnel, weapons systems, vehicles, ships and aircraft at Australia’s northern bases.
“Ideally, Australia’s military expansion would include the acquisition of long-range precision strike capabilities, upgrades to the Navy’s surface ship fleet, offensive cyber-attack capability, the ability to project forward defences, and the development of an Australian-based guided weapons manufacturing enterprise.” development will be involved.” he said.
The federal government recently announced that it would purchase $3.5 billion of strike missiles and sea mines to better protect Australia’s maritime approaches and strategic partners for the $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise making plans.
“I think it’s a good decision and what the government is doing is responding to a rapidly changing situation both regionally and globally,” Dr Hayes said.
“We also need to recognize that, for too long, Australia has been quite comfortably under the US security umbrella.
“I think America’s strategic primacy is being challenged by both China and Russia, which has highlighted that, for at least the past decade, Australia’s fixation on domestic matters, including the revolving doors of prime ministers Came at a great price.
“We lost sight of the change in our region and the change in the global order that we really needed to focus on.
“This decision of the government is significant in the sense that we are currently in a position to catch up.”
Dr Hayes said the expansion of bases such as Laverack Barracks, RAAF Base Townsville and HMAS Cairns could add risks, but they were already seen as targets by China.
“This is where deterrence comes in handy because you don’t want to be in a situation where military bases are under attack,” she said.
“I grew up near the base at Cabrala, north of Toowoomba, during the last Cold War and was a marked hot target for the then Soviet Union.
“So, we need to remember that Australia has dealt with situations and threats like this before and sometimes you have to make tough decisions.”