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    Premier & Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Smart State Set To Double Its Helicopter Industry

    Premier & Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Smart State Set To Double Its Helicopter Industry

    Queensland would continue building on its position as the helicopter capital of Australia, Premier Peter Beattie told the Heli-Pacific 2005 Conference today (Tuesday) at the Hyatt Regency Coolum.

    "The Smart State is an appropriate venue for this conference, because we're home to 500 helicopters, or 42 per cent of the national fleet of 1,200 civil helicopters," Mr Beattie said.

    "In addition, our position as the leading helicopter state is reinforced by the fact that 110 of the Australian defence force's 160 helicopters are based in Queensland.

    "It's estimated that our helicopter fleet has doubled in the past ten years and the industry believes it will double again in the next six years - a remarkable rate of growth.

    "Once again we're leading Australia in many aspects of the aviation and aerospace industry and rapid growth is predicted.

    "Since my government was elected in 1998, we've created more than 6,000 new jobs in the aviation industry. Doubling the size of the helicopter industry is likely to create hundreds more jobs.

    "We've established in Queensland a strong aviation training industry - 10 of Australia's 16 helicopter training schools are based in this state.

    "Queensland is also home to Australia's only helicopter producer, Australian Aerospace, a subsidiary of Eurocopter which is owned by EADS of France.

    "Australian Aerospace recently won a contract to build eight new troop lift helicopters here in Brisbane, part of a $1 billion contract to build 12 of these aircraft, which will be based at Townsville in north Queensland.

    "The company is already assembling 18 Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters for the Australian Army.

    "Here on the Sunshine Coast, Heli-Centre at Caloundra has invented the world's first "black box" for helicopters.

    "This industry has been developed within the last decade and is a significant component of our rapidly growing aviation and aerospace industry overall.

    "Helicopters are in demand in the tourism, mustering cattle, surveillance, fire fighting and search and rescue services.

    We have aviation sectors at Archerfield and Ipswich, on the Sunshine Coast, in the north at Townsville and the far north at Cairns where growth over the past year has been unprecedented.

    "Australian Helicopters introduced a world-first commercial helicopter training simulator designed by local firm GeoSim Technologies.

    "We've also achieved some smart breakthroughs in this international industry, among them a helicopter flight simulator that reduces flying time training costs and has introduced significant operating and learning benefits.

    "We saw the launch of the Cairns Aviation Skills Centre, the announcement of a new $7.6 million maintenance facility for Hawker Pacific and the continued growth of Australian Airlines, which has created 400 jobs in the region alone over the past four years.

    "Singapore Flying College is about to launch a new $25 million flight simulator on the Sunshine Coast, Becker Helicopters is now offering an on-line technical training course for pilots worldwide and Jabiru at Bundaberg is producing 100 airframes and 360 of their Model '2200' engines a year.

    "Skilling the aviation sector continues to be a high priority.

    "My Government has committed more than $15 million to Aviation Australia at Brisbane Airport.

    "This is a purpose built training facility that has already provided training to over 1000 people from 50 organisations and 20 countries, in addition to students from all Australian states and territories.

    "We intend also to establish Queensland as a world centre for research and development of unmanned aerial vehicles, a project that involves a number of organisations, including the Queensland Government and Boeing, whose Australian operations are based in Brisbane."

    Contact: 3224 4500 July 12, 2005.