Thousands of families from North Queensland to the Gold Coast will be safer after lifesaving helicopter rescue services were guaranteed with a new long-term funding agreement with the Queensland Government.
Premier Campbell Newman said the 10-year funding deal would ensure that sick kids and their families receive lifesaving medical air transport whether they were holidaying off the coast of Mackay or hiking in the Gold Coast hinterland.
“Our strong team is securing the future of vital helicopter services with this $300 million deal which helps almost 2,000 Queenslanders when they most need it, each and every year,” Mr Newman said.
“It means that young children requiring emergency medical transfers and boaties requiring assistance on our waterways can have peace of mind that help is available.
“To further enhance these vital services, the LNP will be increasing funding by $3 million in the first year to go toward upgrades of helicopters and bases.
“Our commitment to these services is part of our strong plan to make Queensland the safest place to live, work and raise a family.”
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said that Queenslanders from the Torres Strait to the Gold Coast and west of the Great Divide now had long-term access to emergency helicopter services.
“Only the LNP is committed to securing the future of these vital organisations, unlike Labor who wish to return to the same old team who underinvested in emergency services,” Mr Dempsey said.
“Community helicopter providers will, for the next decade, be able to work with our Government air emergency helicopters to secure a safe future for Queenslanders.
“Our commitment to helicopter services means that whether you require help on Horn Island or in the Gold Coast hinterland, we are there to assist.”
RACQ CareFlight Queensland Chairman, Rob Borbidge said CareFlight welcomed the new agreement as one of the most significant funding deals in the group’s 30 year history.
“The Newman Government has provided CareFlight with certainty over the next decade, enabling the service to continue to meet community expectations and needs and to commence a fleet renewal strategy that will see ageing aircraft replaced,” Mr Borbidge said.
“As a community provider, CareFlight has relied on a successful model of community and Government support, combined with incredible support from corporate sponsors.
“Without any of these key stakeholders, CareFlight would not be able to provide our lifesaving service to the community.”
CQ Rescue CEO, Martin Cleland, said the 10-year financial certainty provided by the Queensland Government ensured the future of a vital aeromedical service to the people and communities in the Mackay, Bowen Basin and Whitsunday regions.
“CQ Rescue’s mission trend in the past year has seen hospital transfers increase to almost 70% of our overall work”, said Mr Cleland.
“Given the remoteness of some Central Queensland communities, CQ Rescue is often a lifeline in times of urgent medical requirements that can only be provided at larger facilities.
“The commitment by the Newman Government guarantees our community helicopter rescue service will provide medical and life saving trauma support to our region well into the future.”
Executive Director for RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue, Mark Fewtrell welcomed the increased funding and long term agreement.
“This is welcomed by ourselves and the community who rely heavily on the helicopter in times of medical emergency and distress. The State’s increased funding will contribute towards meeting the overall costs associated with operating the rescue helicopter every hour and every day of the year.
“Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service has been engaged in negotiations with the State for a considerable time now regarding contract term and funding support.
“The 10 year agreement together with an increased level of funding will assist with planning and help ensure the long term sustainability of this vital community based rescue service.”