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7 September, 2020

Weipa cadets need parents to step up: Warren Entsch

Weipa cadets need parents to step up: Warren Entsch

By Matt Nicholls

By MATT NICHOLLS

ONCE a cadet in his teenage years, Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch is calling on the parents of Weipa and Napranum to help save the local cadets unit.

The program is on hold in 2020 due to the lack of willing volunteers to become staff for the No. 112 Squadron.

“This all started back in about 2013 or 2014 when Emma-Lee Prangell came to me with the idea of organising a cadet unit in Weipa,” Mr Entsch said.

“It wasn’t easy and we had meetings with Rio Tinto, the RAAF, as well as the 51st Batallion (Army Reserve).

“But it was officially opened in October 2015 by then-Assistant Defence Minister Darren Chester – who is now the Minister.

“We had 40 cadets and five staff members. Now we have eight cadets and just one staff member left.”

Mr Entsch said No. 112 Squadron, which is based out of the Army Reserve base at Evans Landing in Weipa, would be shut down if local parents did not step up to help out.

“We need three or four parents, ideally those with teenage boys or girls, to volunteer,” he said.

“All the training is provided but you need to make yourselves available.”

Mr Entsch said he often heard complaints of parents who had trouble getting their kids off their devices.

“This is the perfect way to get involved with your kids and help the community,” he said.

“Many years ago, when I was a young lad, I was part of the 106th Squadron out of Mareeba.

“I went to spend nine years with the Air Force and it was the cadets that planted that seed.”

When the cadets were at full capacity in 2015-16, the teenagers were able to travel to RAAF Base Townsville for school holiday programs and partake in local Anzac Day and Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Those wanting to get involved in the local unit should email co.112sqn@airforcecadets.gov.au


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