Australian government announces budget plan for 2010/11

22:02, May 11, 2010      

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Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan on Tuesday announced the federal budget for 2010/11 and said the budget should be back in surplus by 2012/13, three years earlier than forecast last year.

Under the new budget, Australian troops in Afghanistan will be armed with increased fire power and vital rocket detecting technology as they wage an increasingly bitter conflict against Taliban insurgents.

The government has been committing an extra 487.1 million dollars (437.8 million U.S. dollars) for enhanced protection for the 1550 Australian soldiers, most operating in the dangerous Oruzgan province, during 2010/11.

That included improved technology to clear roads of dangerous improvised explosive devices, better armor and increased firepower for Bushmaster vehicles, improved body armor for soldiers, new night vision equipment, additional explosives detection dogs and better intelligence, sensor and reconnaissance capabilities.

Defense department chief finance officer Ian Prior said this was all in response to calls from troops on the ground in Afghanistan.

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