QANTAS wants to establish a new $20 million academy to train up to 500 pilots a year and the school, planned to take off in 2019, will be at an existing aerodrome somewhere in regional Australia.
So, where better than Orange?
Here’s an industry the city council should chase quickly because other regional centres like Tamworth and Dubbo have already put up their hands.
We’ve got all the attributes to be home for the academy including a perfect lifestyle, the best hospital and medical facilities in country NSW, a university, three golf courses and lots of sporting clubs.
Our airport has two runways, 11/29 that’s just been strengthened and lengthened to 2,213 metres, and 04/22, a grass cross-strip that’s 900 metres long.
The main runway is 213 metres longer than the 2,000 metres that’s needed for Boeing 747-8i, 737 or A340 jetliners if not fully loaded.
It’s also 500 metres longer than Dubbo.
The council owns lots of land out there now the proposed industrial area has been scrapped so there’s heaps of room for new buildings for a pilot academy that’s planned to train not only Qantas pilots but those from Jetstar and QantasLink.
We should get cracking on this.
PINCHING PENNIES WITH HIGHWAY PATROL VEHICLES
THERE’S a push by the Sydney media to have more police on the ground in country centres by relieving them of time-wasting duties like their taxi service carting prisoners to courts or the lock-up that leaves their towns vulnerable for a day or so.
And when Orange police numbers at times are scarce, officers from district stations like Canowindra, Eugowra, Cudal, Cumnock and Molong are called in to give a hand.
That leaves those towns short.
The purse no doubt is so stretched there’s no money to put more coppers on the beat but the option is there to sell our expensive tricked-up highway patrol cars and replace them with Mazda 2s.
That’s because of protocol or political correctness, or whatever you want to call it, police pursuits are mostly terminated by a radio operator sitting in the Tamworth VKG base, the latest last Saturday night.
So if police can’t chase offenders they might as well use cheaper baby cars and raise some valuable cash with a highway patrol car sell-off.
And orders for the Commodore and Falcon planned replacements of $120,000 BMW 530d turbo sedans and $65,000 Chrysler 300 SRT Cores could be cancelled to save millions.
How many more country coppers could be employed with that windfall?
Or, as this column has previously suggested, more funds could be raised locally by selling advertising. Think of the possibilities.
Triple-8 or the Nissan racing teams could sponsor our highway patrol cars, decking them out in advertising like their V8 supercars and even hire them for a fee some weekends for a race meeting.
KFC or the pubs might be potential clients. Options include ‘This vehicle is sponsored by John Davis Motors’ or Orange Toyota.
Orange police get their prisoner meals from McDonald’s so it wouldn’t be difficult raising funds from them by emblazing the golden arches logo across our paddy wagons or police station.
Doubters would claim it would demean police but it’s one way to raise some dosh to help employ more troops.