LifeFlight welcomes Palaszczuk Government's funding

Minister for Emergency Services Mark Ryan announced today the Palaszczuk Government’s $2.4 million allocation in its 2017/18 State Budget to 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,” Minister Ryan 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.

“This funding is on top of the $1.2million provided by the Palaszczuk Government in 2015-16 to support the operations of LifeFlight’s Mount Isa base until February 2017 plus $800,000 announced by this government earlier this year as funding from February to June 30, 2017.”

LifeFlight operates a fleet of seven  dedicated RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters at five community bases situated at Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Bundaberg and Mount Isa.  The Mount Isa base has been operating since 2007 previously as NQ Rescue which merged with LifeFlight from July 2015.

LifeFlight, which has flown over 46,000 lifesaving missions during its 36 years of operation, welcomes the $2.4m which represents 12 months of additional funding from the Queensland Government for its most remote base 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 thanks and welcomes the ongoing support of Minister Mark Ryan for its lifesaving rescue service.

LifeFlight also acknowledged existing sponsorships and ongoing commitment from major sponsor RACQ.

“RACQ welcomes this vital State Government funding for what is an essential service and will save lives in Mount Isa and the entire north-west," RACQ spokesman David Contarini said.

Long term supporter 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.”

The committee also includes its Patron, Robbie Katter, MLA Member for Mount Isa, and the following:

-      Mayor Greg Campbell, Cloncurry Shire

-      Mayor Belinda Murphy, McKinlay Shire Council

-      Mayor Jane McNamara, Flinders Regional Council

-      Mayor John Wharton, Richmond Regional Council

-      Deputy Mayor Phil Barwick Mount Isa City Council

-      As well as representatives of local Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service and Glencore Copper

Mr van de Velde acknowledged the work of the Mount Isa Aeromedical Joint Operations Oversight Committee, in promoting a more integrated rescue service for the north-west region and the new funding outcome.