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5th June 2023

• $586M in additional funding for LifeFlight, as part of the upcoming State Budget
• The future-proofing investment gives certainty to rural, regional and remote Queenslanders
• An additional $18.6M will fund a new hanger at the Sunshine Coast airport

The Palaszczuk Government has committed an additional $586 million over ten years to LifeFlight, for on-going emergency medical helicopter services to those in rural, regional and remote Queensland.

The funding is part of this month’s State Budget and gives certainty to Queenslanders and LifeFlight Australia for the next decade.

The funding will also be used to up-grade equipment including a modern power-stretcher loading system compatible with Queensland Ambulance Service stretchers and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Over the next few years, this additional funding will allow LifeFlight to be able to upgrade aging helicopters, create centralised maintenance facilities and invest in aeromedical infrastructure in regional Queensland.

The 2023-24 Budget will also provide $18.6 million for a new 3-bay hangar at Sunshine Coast airport which will house two helicopters for the Sunshine Coast and a back-up helicopter for Bundaberg.

LifeFlight operates with an advanced fleet of emergency medial helicopters . It has bases in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Roma, Bundaberg, and Mt Isa.

For more than 40 years, LifeFlight Australia has been Queensland’s largest community helicopter rescue service delivering emergency response, critical medical care and inter hospital transfers to seriously ill and injured people.

With majority (51 per cent) of Queenslanders living in regional, remote or rural communities, the lifesaving services of LifeFlight ensure those in need have access to emergency medical care.

The announcement follows on from last year’s Budget where the State Government provided an additional $334 million for a 10-year funding agreement with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

It also provided for $60.2 million toward the Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Regional Aeromedical hub for both LifeFlight and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Construction of the new Regional Aeromedical hub is due for completion late 2024 and will support an estimated 200 jobs and a further 220 direct jobs that will contribute an annual economic benefit to the State of $100 million.

Quotes attributable to the Premier:
“Our government is committed to providing free, world class health care no matter where you live in Queensland,” the Premier said.

“This new funding brings our total support for LifeFlight to almost $1 billion over 10 years.

“It will ensure ensure Queenslanders in rural, regional, and remote parts of the state continue to have on-going emergency medical helicopter services – from Mt Isa, to the Cape, Kirra to Cunnamulla.”

Quotes attributable to the Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick:
“LifeFlight’s aeromedical network provides a blanket of emergency care for Queensland.

“Rural, Regional and remote communities rely on LifeFlight to bring the hospital to them in their hour of need.

“We are fortunate to have a world-class dedicated, agile and reliable helicopter rescue service for seriously ill and injured Queenslanders.

“Our Government has today given certainty to this important organisation by committing long-term sustainable funding to LifeFlight’s operations and investing in their future development.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman:
“Queensland is the most decentralised state in the country, which means having access to aeromedical services is vital.

“That is why the Queensland Government is investing almost $1 billion in funding for Lifeflight over the next 10 years, to ensure Queenslanders continue to have access to lifesaving aeromedical services.

“Not only will this funding ensure LifeFlight can continue to airlift some of the sickest and most vulnerable patients in their hour of need, it will also mean a new built for purpose hangar can be constructed at the Sunshine Coast airport.”

Quotes attributable for Member for Nicklin, Robert Skelton:
“LifeFlight plays a critical role in delivering emergency support for the people of the Sunshine Coast.

“LifeFlight has come to the rescue of many people, whether it is someone who has crashed their motorbike or fallen while walking in the mountain ranges.”

Quotes attributable to LifeFlight CEO Ashley van de Velde OAM:
“For more than forty years, LifeFlight Australia has been Queensland’s largest community helicopter rescue service delivering emergency response, critical medical care and interhospital airlifts to seriously ill and injured people. 

“Today’s announcement ensures that we can continue to provide this vital rescue service to the people of Queensland with the assurance that emergency medical care is available 24/7, 365 days a year, no matter where you live.

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