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Progress update on new Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre

The Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base is currently undergoing a complete redevelopment to construct a new purpose-built centre for its aeromedical crews, staff and community rescue helicopters at Toowoomba Airport.

The new purpose-built Clive Berghofer LifeFlight Centre has made significant progress since construction started in mid-March, bringing world-class aeromedical facilities one step closer to Toowoomba and neighbouring south-west communities.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government and Federal Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh MP, local philanthropist Clive Berghofer, Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio and Hon. Rob Borbidge AO Chairman of LifeFlight Australia visited the site this morning and spoke to Hutchinson Builders site manager, Nick Linnan for a progress update.

Minister McVeigh said significant advancements had been made at the new aeromedical facility which will provide lifesaving improvements to those living in south-west Queensland.

“The construction of this new purpose-built facility will reduce response times by having flight crew stay on-site and also reduce the need for staff to travel to Brisbane for training purposes,” Dr McVeigh said.

“This is a substantial investment in the safety of Queenslanders as well as the future of the regional Queensland economy”.

In less than one month the site has been completely reformed and all existing base facilities have been demolished. Building works have commenced and the structural steel framing of the new centre is due to be erected in the next two weeks.

The redevelopment has been funded through the Australian Governments Building Better Regions Fund, matched by financial support from long-time supporter and philanthropist, Clive Berghofer.

LifeFlight was successful in its grant application to the Building Better Regions Fund last August and was approved $2.046m under the Australian Governments program for the redevelopment of the site.

“What we're seeing through the generosity of Clive Berghofer and the Federal Government, with the strong support of the Mayor, Paul Antonio is the start of what will be the best base of its type anywhere in Australia,” said Mr Borbidge.

"It's very significant and it's going to save lives because the better the base is, the quicker you can get aircraft into the air.

"At the end of the day, that response time can mean the difference between life and death."

The total cost of the project is $4.335m, with funds matched by Mr Berghofer who has been a long-time supporter of the aeromedical charity.

"LifeFlight is like an insurance policy, you don't know when you will need to use it," said Mr Berghofer.

"Let's hope we never have to use it but the helicopter goes on many journeys' a day. 

"It's a great thing for our region."

The project is being constructed and managed by Hutchinson Builders; one of Australia’s largest building and construction companies.

Hutchinson Builders have been long-time supporters of LifeFlight since the Toowoomba base was established 12 years ago.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said he supports the bold ambitions of Lifeflight to upgrade their facilities at the Toowoomba Airport.

“Lifeflight performs an important service that is vital to our region,” said Cr Mayor Antonio.

“When LifeFlight, began operations out of a small hangar at Toowoomba Airport in 2006, little did we know that by 2018 this amazing service would have saved and touched the lives of thousands of people in Toowoomba and the south-west region.”

The new centre will house the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue community helicopter and the Surat Gas Aeromedical Service (SGAS) helicopter which carry 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.

The Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base is LifeFlight’s second busiest, and the redevelopment will allow LifeFlight to better serve the needs of the growing community.

In 2017 alone, RACQ LifeFlight Rescue performed 606 lifesaving missions across the Darling Downs.

RACQ has been integral in caring for the south-west community, providing vital funding to the rescue helicopter service through their naming right’s partnership.

RACQ’s Head of Community and Education, David Contarini said he was proud to see the LifeFlight partnership extend to new areas of development which will positively impact the community.

"RACQ is proud to support this long-standing partnership, as we have done for almost 25 years," said Mr Contarini.

“We recognise the incredible and lifesaving work the helicopter teams do on a daily basis and look forward to supporting their continued work in this growing regional community.”

It remains ‘business as usual’ for the Toowoomba RACQ LifeFlight Rescue base, operating out of a temporary facility at the Toowoomba Aerodrome while the construction takes place.

The project is due to be completed in late August.