Measuring China's military rise and implications for Australia

March 07 2024

Australia’s 2023 Defence Strategic Review stated that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) military build-up 'is now the largest and most ambitious of any country since the end of the Second World War'. Australian Defence Chief Angus Campbell observed that this expansion was occurring was occurring 'across all of the operating or warfighting domains of land, air, sea space and cyber.' Central to Australian concerns, as expressed by Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles, is that 'this build-up is happening without an explanation of its strategic purpose. China is not providing our region or the world with any strategic reassurance.'

How significant are the resources that the PRC is now devoting to its military compared with previously? How significant are these resources compared with other countries, notably Australia’s security ally, the US? What capacity does Australia have to respond?

The Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS:ACRI) hosted Professor Peter Robertson, Professor of Economics at the University of Western Australia, to discuss these questions and more. Professor Robertson delivered a 20-minute presentation before joining Professor James Laurenceson, UTS:ACRI Director, in conversation. The discussion was followed by audience Q&A.

Time: 12.30pm - 1.30pm AEDT


transcript of the event is available.


About the speaker

Peter Robertson

Peter Robertson is a Professor of Economics and is Dean of the Business School. He was Head of Economics 2014-2016  and was Associate Dean of Research from 2011-2014. He was educated at the University of Otago, the University of New England and Simon Fraser University. He has been a visiting Scholar at the University of Otago, The University of British Columbia, Rutgers University and The University of Oxford. He was formerly employed at the Productivity Commission 1994-1996,  and the University of New South Wales 1996-2009. Professor Robertson also serves as an expert consultant to the Productivity Commission and to the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and is a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts. He is currently serving on the editorial board of The Indian Growth and Development Review and Economic Papers. 

His research focuses on the interactions between economic growth, economic development and international trade. Particular interests include economic miracles in East Asia, China and India, human capital accumulation, international trade, Defence and immigration. 


About the moderator

James Laurenceson

Professor James Laurenceson is Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney. His research interests relate to the Chinese economy and the Australia-China economic and broader relationship.

Event Gallery


Event Information
March 07 2024
12:30 PM
Livestream (online-only)