Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told workers at Nowra-based Air Affairs Australia (AAA) they are “at the heart” of the government’s Defence White Paper.
There was something in the air in the Shoalhaven on Thursday, when Mr Turnbull joined Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis to officially open the aerial engineering company’s headquarters in the Albatross Aviation Technology Park at Yerriyong.
“You’re all looking fabulous and young, due to the Shoalhaven air but also it’s clearly inspiring you to great work and great innovation,” Mr Turnbull told the crowd.
AAA, established in 1995, provides specialised air training support services to defence establishments in the areas of high speed target towing and other training flight services.
AAA managing director Chris Sievers said the Yerriyong facility was built as a “centre of excellence” for the training services it provides to the Australian Defence Force.
Staff numbers at AAA have grown from 35 to 85 in the past three months as a result of the company being awarded a Jet Air Support contract.
The contract sees AAA provide training support, such as aerial target towing and tactical flight missions, for the Navy and Air Force.
“We hope to continue providing services to the ADF for a lot longer,” Mr Sievers said.
“It’s a very proud day for us … everyone here has contributed in one way or the other, so our success is our people.”
Mr Turnbull thanked the dozens of staff who gathered to mark the opening, saying the company and its operations were “a great example of Australia’s future”.
“This is what our Defence White Paper, our vision for securing Australia in the 21st century, is all about,” he said.
“We have not had enough Australian technology, support for enough Australian technology and Australian innovation in our whole defence budget and that’s the big change in the Defence White Paper.
“It’s fully costed, it’s very rigorous analysis in the Defence White Paper but at the heart of it … are people like you, like all of you with the ideas, with the technology, with the innovation.”