In February 1970, Australia decided to forego the possible pursuit of nuclear weapons by agreeing to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Since then, Australia has been one of the strongest supporters of the NPT and in 1995, we collectively succeeded in ensuring the Treaty was extended indefinitely. The NPT not only provides ongoing security benefits to all States through curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other states, but it also commits nuclear weapon states to work towards disarmament through Article VI obligations. It also enables the international community to benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology, including in human health, agriculture and food security, water and the environment.
For Australia, a core objective is to preserve and strengthen the NPT and the norms it enshrines as the cornerstone of multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Given current geo-strategic realities, the NPT faces many challenges. This includes great power rivalry, growing proliferation risks as well as differences about the most effective path towards disarmament. However, through focusing on areas of convergence and common ground, building dialogue and progressing effective measures towards nuclear disarmament, we can make real progress towards our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons.