Graphic: Leanne Liddle
The RFDS Central Operations recently appointed 2022 NT Australian of the Year Leanne Liddle and aviation expert Geoff Roberts to its Board.
They join a nine-member Board that governs the RFDS’s emergency and non-emergency services across the Northern Territory and South Australia.
Ms Liddle was named 2022 NT Australian of the Year for her work driving the NT Aboriginal Justice Agreement, which in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, aims to reduce imprisonment rates and improve justice outcomes for First Nations people.
Born in Alice Springs, she was the first Aboriginal woman to become a police officer in South Australia. After leaving the police force, she attained a law degree and went on to work for the United Nations and on several high-profile government programs, including SA Government’s Food Security Strategy in the APY Lands.
“It feels like an honour to join the Flying Doctor. I’ve always respected the work of the RFDS and I’ve had many personal and professional associations with the service over the years,” Ms Liddle said.
“My father worked out bush all his life, so there are lots of memories involving the RFDS. My dad has used the service, my sister has flown with them.
“When I was a police officer, I served in Oodnadatta, Marla and the APY Lands. There were plenty of retrievals from the Stuart Highway – as the local police, I’d have regular interactions with the RFDS in terms of lighting the airstrip at night whenever there were accidents.
“The role of the RFDS is to provide better quality health care to remote and rural areas – and the type of services we can deliver can go a long way and be far more impactful in ‘closing the gap’ for Aboriginal people. I want to build opportunities for both ATSI (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) and non-ATSI professional services to partner with the Flying Doctor.”
Meanwhile, RFDS Central Operations is thrilled to welcome aviation expert Geoff Roberts to its Board.
Mr Roberts has been involved with aviation all his working life and has been passionate about flying since he was a child.
Previously a rotary-wing and fixed-wing pilot in both military and civilian fields, Mr Roberts is currently an ICAM Investigator/Trainer at Safety Wise, an organisation specialising in workplace incident investigations.
He has extensive skills and experience across incident and accident investigation, development and implementation of flight safety and training programs, and aviation safety auditing, all of which he hopes will contribute to the Flying Doctor’s strategic vision.
“I was inspired to join the RFDS Board as I felt that I could really make a contribution to the organisation’s safety and performance in the area of flight operations and safety,” Mr Roberts said.
“Having been in a number of aviation leadership roles over my career I have a good understanding of the often competing priorities of flight safety, operational requirements, staff management and budget constraints.
“Effective balancing and management of these factors plus innumerable other tactical and strategic challenges is critical to the organisation’s success and the maintenance of its reputation as Australia’s premier aeromedical service.”
RFDS Central Operations Chairman Peter de Cure AM said Leanne and Geoff are outstanding additions to a well-credentialled Board spanning expertise in aviation, health, risk and governance, innovation and rural issues.
“We are delighted to welcome Leanne and Geoff on board,” he said.
“Their experience and passion will be invaluable to the delivery of our five-year Strategic Plan, which outlines ambitious improvements in healthcare through the central corridor of Australia.”