Sunshine Coast’s historic Orion Aircraft on the move thanks to Federal Govt

Volunteers from the Queensland Air Museum have begun deconstructing and moving an iconic AP-3 Orion Aircraft on its final journey to public display, thanks to a grant from the Federal Government under the Stronger Communities Programme. The $20,000 grant, one of 20 grants across the Federal electorate of Fisher in this round, paid for the forklift and other equipment required by volunteers to complete the task.

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said that these 20 grants, totalling $150,000 across Fisher would help build our local economy and support community groups in delivering vital social benefits.

“The journey of this aircraft to The Queensland Air Museum will not only allow us to preserve the heritage of the aircraft itself but also provide the opportunity for thousands of Australians in the region to experience it, and to learn more about its fascinating story.” Mr Wallace said.

The AP-3 Orion aircraft A9-760 served with the ADF in the Middle East, searched for MH370, and was the first plane to spot the lost yacht racers Thierry Dubois and Tony Bullimore. Donated by the Australian Government last June and currently residing at Sunshine Coast Airport, once deconstructed the aircraft will be moved and meticulously rebuilt at Queensland Air Museum in Caloundra for display to the public.

“This aircraft will add another highlight to our already world class tourism offering, and will make a contribution to building the economy we want on the Sunshine Coast. That is the sort of community building that the Stronger Communities Programme is all about. The Sunshine Coast is gaining another icon and I am proud to play my small part in delivering it to its new home.” he said.

Other groups in Fisher receiving grants in this Round of the Programme included the Beerwah Sportsground, which received $10,000 for the installation of an underground irrigation system for the community’s main playing field; Mooloolaba Bowls Club, which was awarded $15,652 for a state of the art CCTV security system and a new PA system throughout the club; and Caloundra Community Kindergarten Association who received $20,000 to replace their 40 year old pergola with a new insulated panel and increase the shaded area for their students.

“In Federal Government we often talk in telephone numbers but these grants show that you don’t need a huge amount of money to make a big difference. For communities all over the Sunshine Coast, the new equipment and facilities being delivered from these 20 grants are helping to bring people together and give them access to activities they never had before. I can’t wait to see what grants we can secure in Round 5!” Mr Wallace said.

In addition to the Queensland Air Museum Project, the complete list of grants in Fisher under Round 4 of the Stronger Communities Programme includes:

  • The Knitfest Yarn and Fibre Festival who received $2,500 to repair their roof,
  • The Beerwah Sportsground which received $10,000 for installation of an underground water system for the main playing field,
  • The Blackall Range Care Group who received $17,500 to purchase a people mover car,
  • Celebrate Glasshouse Country who received $4,750 for office and conference equipment for the Landsborough Memorial Hall,
  • Maleny and District Men’s Shed, who received $6,028 for construction of an awning, flammables cabinet and hand washing facilities,
  • Maleny RSL Sub-branch who received $4,825 for refurbishments to the RSL Memorial Hall,
  • Kawana Waters Surf Life Saving Club who received $6,062 for equipment and education materials for beach safety,
  • Caloundra Community Kindergarten Association who received $20,000 to replace their 40 year old pergola with a new insulated panel and increase the shaded area,
  • STEPS Charity who received $5,226 for an enclosed trailer and marquee to support external events,
  • Caloundra RSL Sub-branch who received $3,924 for enhancements to their memorial garden,
  • Chevallum State School P&C who received $7,625 for new kitchen equipment to support the group’s events,
  • Dicky Beach Surf Lifesaving Club who received $6,330 for a mobile patrol trailer to transport equipment to patrol zones and provide shelter,
  • The Salvation Army Caloundra who received $4,700 to upgrade outdoor event equipment,
  • Mooloolaba Bowls Club who received $15,652 for a state of the art CCTV security system and a new public address system for the club,
  • The Compass Institute which received $3,083 for renovations,
  • Chancellor State college who received $3,739 for a new refund collection point,
  • St Vincent de Paul Society in Caloundra who received $2,500 for new sorting benches, fittings and lighting. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Stronger Communities Programme funds projects that deliver social benefits as part of the Government’s continuing commitment to strengthen communities across Australia.  

“Our local communities are the heart of this great country and this investment in local projects under the Stronger Communities Programme is about invigorating these communities and ensuring their continued success,” Mr McCormack said. 

“The program funds small capital projects in each of the 151 federal electorates, which can range from upgrading the local community hall or sporting facility, building new bike paths, or providing essential equipment for the local State Emergency Service.”

Each electorate nationwide received $150,000 in Round 4 to allocate towards successful projects, with a maximum of 20 projects to be funded per electorate. Grants values ranged from $2,500 to $20,000.

For more information on the Stronger Communities Programme visit

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Authorised by Andrew Wallace MP, Liberal National Party, 11/10 Lake Kawana Blvd, Bokarina, QLD, 4575