RAAF fighters on hold to help balance budget

THE federal government has postponed 12 strike fighter planes bound for Williamtown RAAF base as part of $2 billion in spending cuts to help balance next Tuesday’s budget.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also commissioned a new defence white paper a year ahead of schedule, saying the previous paper, in 2009, had been done during the global financial crisis.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith said delaying the strike fighters and scrapping other projects would save the budget bottom line almost $2 billion.

Opposition MP Bob Baldwin said the announcements showed the government’s existing white paper was not worth the paper it was printed on.

Delays to the strike fighter program would have negative impacts for the Williamtown base and its surrounding residents.

Full story in tomorrow’s Herald.

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