Mareeba Airport Visit and Sod Turning
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to join such an eminent group of proud, future focused people, including the current Mareeba Mayor, Cr Toppin and Mareeba Shire Councillors, the former Mayor, Tom Gilmore, and senior representatives from MAF International, including Regional Director Asia Pacific, Mr Stephen Charlesworth.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
I am delighted to be at the Mareeba Airport this afternoon. As my Official Secretary Air Commodore Mark Gower – who commanded the RAAF Base Amberley – would put it, nothing evokes excitement quite like the whiff of avgas!
Today, the air is unmistakably thick with eager anticipation for this exciting hangar project.
One of the great privileges of being Governor is being exposed to interesting initiatives of which one was previously only hazily aware.
So it is with the Mission Aviation Fellowship, a global organisation this year celebrating its 75th anniversary.
I was intrigued to learn how MAF effectively confronts many of the challenges which beset our world, bringing essential services and Christian care to some of the most remote places on earth through aviation and technology.
These benevolent aspects aside, there is a very serious business dimension to MAF’s services, enriching the local communities from which you are based.
The hangar project, for which I will shortly join dignitaries in turning the sod, represents a major investment in the Mareeba community.
It will lay the foundations for future expansion of MAF’s engineering services and support new technologies, while enhancing other excellent facilities like the flight training school I have just toured.
The construction of the precinct will also serve as a physical sign of progress, reinforcing the important role general aviation plays in the health and prosperity of the wider Mareeba region. I applaud the vision of successive Councils in this regard.
I thank the Mayors – current and former – and Council for their stewardship of the Mareeba Airport, and for suggesting this element as part of my visit. Mareeba Shire Council has obviously overlooked some past perceived indiscretions on my part: the last time I was at an airport for an official engagement, the opening of Brisbane’s new Runway in July, I was accused of cutting the ribbon early, ahead of the Premier and Deputy Prime Minister!
I applaud MAF International for their foresight in selecting Mareeba to advance their important mission.
It is now my great honour to join the current and former Mayor in turning the sod, using the appropriately ceremonial shovels, on the new hangar project at Mareeba Airport.