RAAF Base Williamtown

10 SEPTEMBER 2015

It is always a pleasure to go out and about in Newcastle to meet with locals. Most recently, RAAF Base Williamtown’s commander Air Commodore Steven Roberton gave me a tour of the base and facilities.

The men and women at Williamtown perform important work every day to keep Australia safe with unparalleled skill and professionalism. They are directly contributing to the fight against Da’esh in Iraq and Syria - Air Commodore Roberton himself was the first commanding officer of the air task group which deployed to the region last year.

Williamtown is soon to become home to Air Force’s new F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. These state-of-the-art fighter aircraft will be an essential component of the Australian Defence Force for a generation.

Not only will the Newcastle community be playing a key role in keeping our nation well defended, the new F-35As will deliver real economic growth opportunities. $1 billion of construction is already underway at Williamtown, with work expected to last for seven years. In addition, Newcastle has the opportunity to become a regional maintenance hub. This could potentially generate hundreds of well-paid local jobs for decades.

Thank you to Air Commodore Roberton and his officers and crew for their time, and to the fighter pilot trainers of 76 Squadron for showing me the ropes in their Hawk 127 flight simulator!