Minister for Emergency Services Mark Ryan says the $2.4 million allocation in the state budget will keep the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter in Mount Isa flying to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the north-west.
“The LifeFlight operations are an important emergency service for Queenslanders and in particular for our regional communities such as Mount Isa,” MrRyan said.
“LifeFlight provides a range of helicopter rescue and aeromedical retrieval services to the people in Mount Isa and surrounding areas, ensuring the community has access to urgent aeromedical care when they need it.”
Mr Ryan said the funding was on top of $1.2m provided in 2015-16 to support the operations of LifeFlight’s Mount Isa base until February 2017 plus $800,000 earlier this year as funding to end of June.
LifeFlight operates a fleet of seven dedicated RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters at five community bases situated at Mount Isa, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Bundaberg. The Mount Isa base has been operating since 2007 previously as NQ Rescue which merged with LifeFlight in July 2015.
LifeFlight, which has flown over 46,000 lifesaving missions during its 36 years of operation, welcomes the 12 months of additional funding at Mount Isa.
“The new funding is good news for the north-west and will create greater certainty around the Mount Isa service” said LifeFlight Australia CEO, Ashley van de Velde.
LifeFlight said it welcomed the ongoing support of Minister Mark Ryan for its lifesaving rescue service and also acknowledged existing sponsorships and ongoing commitment from major sponsor RACQ.
Glencore also recently announced a two-year $300,000 corporate partnership for LifeFlight’s Mount Isa base under its community program.
LifeFlight also acknowledges the previous announcement of Health Minister Cameron Dick for the construction of a dedicated helipad at Mount Isa Hospital. LifeFlight has been working with the North-West Health and Hospital Service on the design and location of the helipad and looks forward to this further upgrade to the existing service.
“It’s a challenging environment to operate a service of this nature and requires the support of the State Government, local authorities, the important mining sector and the community, “ said Mr van de Velde.
It will enable LifeFlight to move forward with greater co-ordination and integration with the Royal Flying Doctor Service as part of their joint aeromedical operations model to ensure optimum patient outcomes by using the most appropriate aircraft depending on the medical emergency.
“It’s a partnership in its truest form,” said the Hon Tony McGrady AM, Chairman of the Aeromedical Joint Operations Oversight Committee.
“Not only is the Joint Oversight Committee here to support the efforts of LifeFlight and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, we are here to ensure the communities in this vast region are provided with access to the very best aeromedical care through an integrated operations model.”