Federal Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester is proud of everything the servicemen and women of RAAF Base Williamtown have achieved over the last 80 years.
"While Williamtown is probably best known as the Royal Australian Air Force's premier fighter base, its residents also produce a wide range of first-class Defence capability," he said.
"Base personnel and their families have made enormous contributions over the years to the fabric and heart of the Port Stephens and Newcastle communities.
"I look forward to seeing what opportunities the future will bring to RAAF Base Williamtown and the wider community.
"To all current and former serving personnel at the base, I say quite simply, thank you for your service."
As well as playing a critical role in protecting our nation, Williamtown has become the beating heart of a nationally significant defence and aerospace hub, making it a key catalyst for current and future employment activity in the Greater Newcastle area.
"RAAF Williamtown's contribution to this region is invaluable as one of the single largest employers in the region, with the salaries of its 3700 military and civilian personnel, and up to 500 contractors, generating more than $280 million per annum in the Hunter economy," Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"Further to this, employment lands surrounding the RAAF base have been designated by the NSW State Government as a Special Activation Precinct with up to $200 million in allocated funding, while Astra Aerolab and the Williamtown Aerospace Precinct are home to internationally significant firms in defence, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and digital services."
Also co-located on the RAAF site is Newcastle Airport, a global transport hub jointly operated by City of Newcastle and Port Stephens Council.
"All levels of government have recognised Williamtown's significance as an economic driver for our region," Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said.
"I want to extend my congratulations to the Air Force and all of the people who have served at RAAF Base Williamtown throughout these 80 years, past and present.
"You have all played an important role in helping to achieve this incredible milestone and the Port Stephens community is proud to celebrate with you."
The two councils continue to work closely with RAAF Williamtown on plans to expand the Airport's runway to code E status and enable international flights, a project modelled to create 4400 regional jobs and deliver $12.7 billion in regional economic activity across a 20-year horizon.
"None of this would have been possible without the establishment of RAAF Williamtown on 15 February 1941, and we pay tribute to the significant contribution it continues to make to the Greater Newcastle region, now and into the future," Cr Nelmes said.
Meryl Swanson, Federal Member for Paterson and Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence echoed those sentiments.
"The base has a proud history of training and moulding our best and brightest. It's an integral part of lour local community and plays a critical role in our national security," she said.
"I am proud to celebrate the success of RAAF Base Williamtown with this milestone being such a proud achievement for the team at the base and the camaraderie they share as a community."