ONE of Far North Queensland’s most respected former politicians was recently recognised for his work within the community at the Queen’s Birthday Honours as he received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
Martin Tenni had an extensive political career spanning years, playing an integral role in overseeing and bringing critical infrastructure to the region.
Born in 1934, Mr Tenni attended school in Cairns however was forced into early employment after the passing of his father – and after time spent working in the hardware industry, Mr Tenni made the decision to develop his own hardware supply business.
Mr Tenni’s transition into politics began in 1970 when he was encouraged to run for the Mareeba Shire Council, and it wasn’t too long before he established himself as the council’s Chairperson.
That kick-started what would be an outstanding political career for Mr Tenni, as he successfully ran as the National Party candidate for Barron River in 1974. Mr Tenni served as both a member of state parliament and as the Shire Chair until 1976.
Arguably Mr Tenni’s most prominent work came in his roles as the Minister for Environment Valuation and Administrative Services in 1983 before moving to the Water Resources and Maritime Services portfolio in 1986. Mr Tenni then served as Minister for Mines and Energy in 1987.
It was Mr Tenni’s work during his time in the ministry where his work continues to have the greatest impact – as his involvement in redeveloping the Cairns domestic and International Airports, his help in founding James Cook University along with the development of the road from Cairns to the Kewarra Beach roundabout are still being widely utilised to this day.
Mr Tenni retired from politics due to poor health in 1989. Mr Tenni is a name synonymous with Far North Queensland, and his important work in helping grow the region will be remembered for a long time.