King’s Birthday honours for tourism and aviation leaders

LAST weekend’s King’s Birthday honours list from the Governor General highlighted some of Australia’s leaders in tourism, aviation and hospitality.

Roger Leach, the founder of NT-based remote aviation specialist Chartair, was been named a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, highlighting his extensive career which included the founding of the business in 1974. He has also been involved with Airnorth, Skyport and Central Australian Helicopters, while Chartair is now part of a larger group of aviation companies including Dubbo-based Air Link and aeromedical firm AirMed.

Monash University’s Professor David Newman received an AM for significant service to aerospace medicine, recognising his work to found the Aviation Medicine Unit in 2000 and lead the organisation for the next two decades.

Also on the AM list was former Qantas Chief Information Officer, Fiona Balfour, cited in the honours for “significant service to corporate governance and to the aviation sector”. Balfour is also a former director of Airservices Australia and is currently on the board of Western Sydney Airport.

Tourism recipients of the first honours under the new King included Port Lincoln-based shark diving pioneer Rodney Fox AM, whose citation also included his contributions to shark biology. Fox’s eponymous Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions was the result of his invention of the first ever shark diving cage, leading to his passion for educating people about the great white shark, with the operation also offering tours of North Neptune Islands and the opportunity to dive with sea lions.

Celebrity chef Curtis Stone was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the tourism, culinary and hospitality industries – reflected in multiple roles including a former collaboration with United Airlines on its inflight menus (not to mention offering to “feed a family of four for under $10” in his partnership with Coles).

An OAM also went to Tasmanian winegrower Josef Chromy for “distinguished service to the community through tourism” while the culinary theme continued with an AM for Victorian food writer Rita Erlich, cited for “significant service to the tourism and hospitality industry in Victoria”.

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