Visit to Mount Isa Royal Flying Doctor Service
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honour, with Kaye, to be with you this evening.
In doing so we join a proud succession of Governors who have visited the Mount Isa operations of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, with the base officially opened by our 17th Governor, Sir Henry Abel Smith. More recently, our 25th Governor, my predecessor, Governor Wensley, celebrated your significant 50th anniversary in 2014.
Kaye and I have just returned from Hughenden. This morning we were in Mornington Island.
It has always been difficult to conceive neatly of Queensland’s vast distances. This is especially so for many who live in our State’s east and south east coastal cities, although I suspect it is hardly the case for the staff here tonight, who cover an enormous patch out to the Northern Territory border, up into the Gulf and south to Bedourie.
Kaye and I have always been amazed, frankly, at the capacity of the RFDS to so beneficially fulfil Flynn’s vision of providing a ‘mantle of safety’ for the bush. And, to this end, I was pleased to learn of the recent acquisition at the Mount Isa base of a new aircraft, to expand the reach of your clinics. The Cloncurry Mayor also spoke of your effectiveness when partnering with Council in upgrading the Burke and Wills airstrip.
We have, since being sworn in in 2014, had many memorable interactions with the Flying Doctor: the opening of the Charleville hanger on 31 October 2014; fields runs, in RFDS aircraft, to Aurukun and Hungerford on the New South Wales border; last year’s 90th celebrations in your spiritual home in Cloncurry; and hosting a dinner at Government House in support of the RFDS in June this year.
None of these interactions, luckily, have been as patients! Although I would be assured, were that the case, by your utter dedication and professionalism.
As we base ourselves out of Mount Isa for this week’s Regional Government House, Kaye’s and my message to you all in simple: thank you, wholeheartedly, for all you do as vital members of the Mount Isa and Queensland communities.
Since our arrival in Mount Isa on Saturday, we have been collecting unforgettable memories of the wonderful people of this region. We look forward to collecting many more here at tonight’s BBQ, with dedicated staff and their families.