Today (Monday 8th April) the aeromedical services once again displayed their close co-operation, sharing shovel duties to conduct the official sod-turning, ceremonially marking the start of the construction phase.
Located at the newly-developed Aviation and Aerospace Precinct at Bundaberg Airport, the new facility will be built jointly used by RFDS and RACQ LifeFlight Rescue, replacing the current, shared hangar.
Designed and built specifically to meet the needs of the aeromedical services, the base will improve health and safety standards, medical equipment storage, aircraft maintenance and upgrade amenities for both patients and staff.
RFDS Senior Base Pilot, Haydn Frisby said the new facility, due for completion in February 2020, will streamline Bundaberg’s current operation.
“There will be an increase in space for crew, staff meetings, training and equipment storage. Being purpose-built, it will be tailored to the needs of pilots, nurses and office staff. It will be a lot easier to do our jobs and will also cater for the needs of our patients,” he said.
LifeFlight Board Chairman Hon. Rob Borbidge AO, agreed the new facility will be a fantastic opportunity to ensure the region continues to receive the best possible healthcare.
“The joint base in Bundaberg, with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, will provide a state-of-the-art facility that will be equal to the best in the country.
“This will be a significant improvement on the current RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter base and of course, we are working increasingly closely with the RFDS, so we look forward to continuing to embrace that relationship into the future,” said Mr Borbidge.
RFDS Queensland Section Chairman Mark Gray believes the already strong relationship between the two charities will provide a solid foundation for the project’s ultimate success.
“Both organisations already share a close and collaborative relationship and are dedicated to providing essential health services to the region. As part of an existing coordinated aeromedical service to this community, LifeFlight have been operating their Bundaberg-based helicopter service from the RFDS’ existing aircraft hangar since 2011. The collaboration will provide both organisations with the very best infrastructure ensuring they continue to provide lifesaving and essential care to the Bundaberg & Wide Bay region,” Mr Gray said.
The RFDS and LifeFlight have committed funds to this project and secured funding of three million dollars from the Australian Government, through the Building Better Regions Fund.
While this important infrastructure project has received generous support from the Australian Government and through a 25 year, long-term leasehold from Bundaberg Regional Council, the two charities are required to contribute the remaining 50% of the total project costs.
The new base will cost RFDS and LifeFlight $1.5 million each and they are looking to the local community to help offset the amount.
The RFDS and LifeFlight are asking for support to contribute to the cost of the development, which will be the first of its kind in Queensland – housing both rotary and fixed wing aircraft under one roof.
The community and its leaders can have confidence that their financial gift will contribute to providing the finest healthcare to residents of Bundaberg, the Wide Bay and surrounding regions for years to come.