Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips has moved the quell a community uproar about the future of Nowra’s Iraquois Navy helicopter.
Ms Phillips said she has spoken with the Department of Defence which has confirmed the iconic ‘Chopper on a Stick’ will be returned and remounted at a prominent location in Nowra.
The helicopter was removed from its mounting at the southern end of the Nowra Bridge in September and taken away to allow the Navy Fleet Air Arm at HMAS Albatross to refurbish and check its structural integrity.
Speaking today (26 October) Ms Phillips said, “Yes the chopper will be returned after it undergoes some much needed maintenance, but I can confirm it will be returned.”
She said, “The confirmation has come from Defence. It is a federal issue and as Federal Member, I can advise the chopper will be returned.”
There was an outcry of support for the return of the Iraquois after Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley was unable to confirm whether the iconic Nowra landmark would return and indicated talks had been held with the Navy for a Defence memorial to honour Nowra’s historic links wth HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell.
A Facebook page went up to support its return and Shoalhaven Councillor Paul Ell said he would contact the Navy Fleet Air Arm to find out what’s going on.
Kiama MP Gareth WARD said he would launch a petition to bring the chopper back.
Ms Phillips said there is no timeframe at this stage for when the furbished helicopter would return, and where it will be located is yet to be determined depending on the availability of its former site.
“It will absolutely be returned, if not to that exact spot, then a very prominent spot, and I will absolutely make sure of that.” she said.