The Royal Flying Doctor Service has secured funds for a new, built-for-purpose aeromedical base in Mount Isa.
The Commonwealth Government announced a commitment of $9.7 million towards the project through the Building Better Regions Fund, enabling the RFDS to begin planning the construction phase of the $12.9 million aeromedical base and patient transfer facility.
RFDS CEO Meredith Staib thanked the Commonwealth Government for the vital investment in rural and remote healthcare.
"Today's funding commitment signals an important milestone in our statewide infrastructure plan. The new Mount Isa Base will be custom-built to allow for improved patient experience during transit, as well as an enhanced working environment for medical staff, pilots and ground crew," she said.
"Importantly, our new base will enable the continued delivery of vital 24/7 emergency retrieval and inter-hospital patient transfer services for the region well into the future.
"It will feature four dedicated hangar bays and maintenance facilities, improved transfer facilities for patients, new break rooms for clinical staff and additional car parking for staff and emergency vehicles.
"The patient transfer facility will allow our crews to move patients from RFDS aircraft to Queensland Ambulance Service vehicles, out of the elements and in a comfortable, clinical environment, ensuring the best patient care possible."
Ms Staib said the new facility would also provide significant economic benefits.
"In Mount Isa, the RFDS generates $16.3 million of economic activity per year and supports 119 full-time equivalent jobs," she said.
"We expect the build of this base to generate 43 new full-time jobs and provide around $3.7 million in wages and salaries."
Ms Staib said a fundraising appeal, staged earlier this year, generated more than $1 million in community donations for the new base. The remainder of funds required will be sourced through philanthropic support.
Special Envoy for Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald, said the Government's investment will deliver better facilities and economic opportunities, making the regions more liveable for existing and future residents.
"Regional Queensland is benefiting from the most regions-focused Federal Government we've ever had with billions in funding for community projects, roads, dams, energy generation, health and telecommunications," she said.
The RFDS Mount Isa Base services people living, working and travelling from the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, the Northern Territory border in the west, Hughenden in the east and Bedourie in the south.
Last financial year, Mount Isa crew provided aeromedical transfer for more than 1,000 patients and primary health care for over 5000 patients.
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