The North has lost one of its visionaries with the passing on the weekend of Sir Mick Curtain.
Sir Mick was an innovative, forward looking and courageous entrepreneur whose business empire extended from North Queensland to our nearest neighbour in Papua New Guinea.
Sir Mick and his brothers established themselves in Papua New Guinea in 1966, starting out as a civil engineering and construction company. Today, their operations extend to mining, bridge and dam construction, shipping and wharf construction, major infrastructure and property development, and building construction.
His work created new businesses in both North Queensland and Papua New Guinea and provided many work opportunities for Northerners and PNG nationals alike.
Much of the activity of the Townsville Port and the creation from scratch of the new port in Port Moresby at Motukea are lasting testaments to his vision and energy. Although very much shunning the limelight, I knew Sir Mick was a person from whom Prime Ministers and senior Ministers in both Australia and PNG often sought counsel.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of visiting Port Moresby and seeing first-hand the impact that his years of development and investment in that city, have had on Papua New Guinea’s economy.
Such was the effect of his contribution that in 2005 Sir Mick was knighted by the Papua New Guinea government for his efforts, an accolade so richly deserved for his help in developing that nation’s economy.
One activity I well remember was how Sir Mick was so proud organising young PNG women to become qualified tradespeople through training and jobs at Motukea.
I extend to Lady Curtain and her family my condolences for their loss. As a nation, Australia has lost a great innovator and visionary.