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LifeFlight welcomes funding for new Toowoomba aeromedical base

LifeFlight will construct a new purpose-built centre for its aeromedical crews, staff and community rescue helicopters at Toowoomba Airport thanks to funding from the Turnbull Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, matched by financial support from long-time supporter and philanthropist Clive Berghofer.

The new facility, called the Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre, will involve a complete redevelopment of LifeFlight’s current facility at the airport.

The project will be constructed and managed by Hutchinson Builders, one of Australia’s largest building and construction companies.

Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Regional Development, Senator Fiona Nash, visited the Toowoomba base today to announce that LifeFlight had been successful in its grant application for the project of $2.046m under the federal program.

The total cost of the project is $4.395m with the federal funds matched by Mr Berghofer, who has been a long-time supporter of the aeromedical rescue charity.

The cost includes general operational expenditure by LifeFlight and in kind support from Toowoomba Regional Council, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, Queensland Ambulance Service and the Queensland Government.

LifeFlight is not required to make any capital funding contribution to infrastructure costs.

LifeFlight Australia Chairman Rob Borbidge welcomed the incredible support from Senator Nash and the Federal Government and Mr Berghofer for the important project and acknowledged the support for the project from federal Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh, federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud and Senator Barry O’Sullivan.

“The new Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre is very timely given that we have just had our second consecutive record year for rescues around Queensland with Toowoomba being one of our busiest bases in Queensland with 609 lives saved in 2016-17, which was also a record” said Mr Borbidge.

“The Toowoomba base was established 10 years ago and the base facilities have been incrementally developed and were never designed to provide a permanent solution.

“The new centre addresses a number of functional and compliance issues and ensures the base is future-proofed for the expected further growth of operations in the region.

“The fact that we have received wonderful and welcome financial support for an important piece of infrastructure means that LifeFlight can channel its limited resources into frontline services and do what it does best – saving lives.

“There are many benefits to the new Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre, including features such as ambulances having straight-through access to the hangar and apron for patient and medical equipment transfer.”

Mr Bordbdge said LifeFlight's contributions will now be directed towards a future proof project. He said this was a great outcome for the community and thanked the Turnbull government for their support.

The new centre will house the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue community helicopter and the SGAS helicopter which carries a significant and increasing workload of community missions from the base. It will include on-site accommodation for crews for 24/7 operations, a purpose-built workshop for engineering activities, administration and other staff facilities.

Major LifeFlight supporter Clive Berghofer said he was delighted and proud to provide financial backing to such an important project.

“As a major sponsor and partner of LifeFlight for 10 years, I understand the critical need for a rescue helicopter service based in Toowoomba that provides vital emergency care to patients in rural and regional communities across South-West Queensland,” said Mr Berghofer.

“After helping to establish the ongoing need for the service in the area over the past decade, I’m happy to support LifeFlight in its endeavour to develop a purpose-built facility to meet the increasing demand that their lifesaving rescue service will experience in the region.

“It’s personally been very rewarding for me to see and hear of the lifesaving work that LifeFlight does and knowing that every day, we support a venture that helps sick and injured people to get world class medical care that helps them to be reunited with loved ones.”

LifeFlight Foundation CEO Leanne Angel said Mr Berghofer had been a loyal and long-time supporter of LifeFlight in the region and had provided financial and moral support for numerous projects over the years.

“Clive’s support is vitally important to us but this project is a great example of what can be achieved when a successful and forward-thinking organisation like LifeFlight, supported by the LifeFlight Foundation, galvanises the support of the community, the Federal Government and other levels of government with a common purpose of providing a vital frontline service,” said Ms Angel.

The project is expected to be completed by 2019.