I’m very proud to be joining in the celebration of the Royal Australian Air Force.
A one century contribution to our nation’s history is incredibly important and the way in which aviation has developed over the course of that 100 years is quite remarkable.
The RAAF of course is recognised globally as a very significant and superior fighting force. Aviation has moulded and changed the ways in which we respond to our war effort, and the modernisation of our fleet and the way in which we have invested into our people is a great credit to our country over many, many decades.
There are 350,000 Australians who are serving or have served in the Royal Australian Air Force and this is a celebration of your service.
It is incredibly important that we recognise those people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Eleven thousand Australians who have given their lives in the service of our country while serving in the Royal Australian Air Force.
I also want to pay tribute to the families of serving and retired RAAF Officers. They make an incredible sacrifice themselves for the time that their loved ones spend away from home, on training or on mission.
It should be recognised that we are going to continue to support our Royal Australian Air Force for many, many years to come.
As Defence Minister I am incredibly proud of the work of the Royal Australian Air Force, and I want to recognise all of those support and ancillary functions, both on base across the Australian Defence Force, but also those in the community as well. Those who are involved in cadets and people who are involved in RAAF Associations.
We pay tribute to those who have contributed over a long period of time and keep alive the history which is incredibly important.
Congratulations to the Royal Australian Air Force, to all of the serving members, both current and former.
I wish you a very, very happy celebration.