The Federal Opposition has backed plans for the defence force to play a larger role in protecting Australia's resources assets.
AAP reports Opposition defence spokesperson David Johnson said a strong navy backed by submarines was needed to guard mining regions.
"We need a strong, capable navy focused around force element groups that are a deterrent — namely submarines," he said.
Johnson also said Australia's resources projects were gaining significance on the global stage.
"In 20 years we'll be providing something between ten and 20 per cent of the whole of China's energy," he said.
"Their problems, diplomatically and resource-wise, will be our problems."
Early this year planners in the Australian Defence Force urged the military to keep a strong presence in the country's north and northwest to guard resources projects.
It said a presence around offshore oil and gas projects was also necessary to ensure they weren't seen as easy targets.
The United States has already announced plans to strengthen its position in the Asia Pacific by placing 2,500 marines in northern Australia.