Graphic: Five people using shovels dig up dirt on the site of the new aviation training facility.
Representatives from the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS), QCoal Foundation, Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council mark the start of construction on a new world-class aviation training facility in Bundaberg.
Today marks the start of construction on a new world-class aviation training facility in Bundaberg.
Representatives from the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS), QCoal Foundation, Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council have gathered on site to celebrate ground being broken on the development, following Bundaberg-based Murchie Constructions being awarded with the contract to build the facility.
The new facility will be constructed next to the existing RFDS Bundaberg Base and house the only Beechcraft King Air Pro Line Fusion Full-Flight Simulator (FFS) in Australia.
Once built, RFDS pilots from across Queensland will spend at least two weeks at the training facility each year, while non-RFDS pilots will also be able to use the simulator for their endorsements or recurrent training for King Air aircraft.
The RFDS Aviation Training Facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
The $25.3 million facility is jointly funded, with $14.9 million from the Australian Government and $3 million from QCoal Foundation. The land for the facility has been donated by Bundaberg Regional Council. RFDS will fund the remainder of the project through fundraising.
Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said the Australian Government was proud to be contributing nearly $15 million to make the critical project a reality.
“This will support the essential medical services of the RFDS by providing a world-class facility for training their pilots," Minister King said.
“It will also deliver a broader economic boost to Bundaberg and surrounds by supporting local jobs and attracting these pilots to visit, stay and shop in the region, while strengthening our domestic medical aviation capacity.”
RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said the sod turning was an important milestone for the Flying Doctor," Ms Staib said.
“I’m incredibly excited to see work commence on our new Aviation Training Facility which will help support the ongoing training of our highly skilled pilots, as well as pilots from across Australia and Asia.
“This purpose-built facility will play a vital role as we head towards 100 years of the Flying Doctor, with innovative aviation and training technology on our doorstep helping to ensure the continuity of world-class training for our pilots and crew – allowing them to continue to provide the finest care to patients right across Queensland.
“This new facility simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of our long-standing partners QCoal Foundation, as well as the Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council – we’re enormously thankful for their support.”
QCoal Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Bhatia said QCoal Foundation recognised the significant value of this project for the RFDS and also for the Bundaberg region.
“We know diversification is key to ensuring the long-term resilience of regional communities and this project will drive that resilience in the Bundaberg region," Ms Bhatia said.
“We are also pleased to see a local contractor awarded this project and look forward to watching the progress of construction.”
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council was pleased to support the new RFDS Aviation Training Facility through the donation of land adjoining its aeromedical base.
“It’s an incredible boon for Bundaberg to be chosen as the location for this new flight simulator which will be the first of its kind to be constructed in Australia," Mayor Dempsey said.
“It’s going to create jobs here locally during construction and will attract at least 81 pilots every year to come here for a minimum of two weeks to do their training and get a taste of our beautiful region.
“As a former state minister it has long been my vision to see the Bundaberg Region established as a hub for emergency services training. With the upgrades to ambulance and fire services in recent years, along with the delivery of the aeromedical base and now this flight simulator, it’s fantastic to see these ambitions being realised.”
Murchie Constructions Managing Director Andrew Murchie said the team were excited to be delivering the project.
“As a local, family-owned business, we’re proud to have been awarded the contract to deliver this facility for the RFDS," Mr Murchie said.