The largest funding injection in LifeFlight Australia's history will see the Queensland Government invest an additional $586.1 million in the Australian aeromedical service over the next decade. “Our government is committed to providing free, world class health care no matter where you live in Queensland,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.
The record funding arrangement gives certainty to Queenslanders that for the next 10 years, the vital search, rescue and aeromedical services provided by LifeFlight will continue to operate, bringing equity of health care to people across the state.
“This announcement is welcome news for LifeFlight and the communities we serve every day, and we thank the Palaszczuk government for this commitment,” says LifeFlight Australia chair, Honourable Jim Elder.
The funding will contribute to upgrading aircraft and equipment including a modern power-stretcher loading system compatible with Queensland Ambulance Service stretchers.
“The guarantee of significant funding from the Queensland Government provides the assurance of ongoing support whilst affording us the opportunity to future proof LifeFlight so we continue to care for future generations of Queenslanders,” comments LifeFlight CEO, Mr Ashley van de Velde OAM.
The upcoming state budget allocates $18.3 million for the most significant regional infrastructure project LifeFlight has undertaken in its 44-year history, within Sunshine Coast Airport's new Aerospace Precinct.
“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 newly built for purpose hangar can be constructed at the Sunshine Coast airport,” says Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman.
The hangar will have appropriate space and support facilities to give LifeFlight the versatility to, if operationally required, immediately house two AW139 RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters and one Challenger 604 RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Air Ambulance jet.
“We are fortunate to have a world-class dedicated, agile and reliable helicopter rescue service for seriously ill and injured Queenslanders,” explains Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick.
LifeFlight will also expand and upgrade its highly specialised engineering facilities, which service the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue fleet, with budget allocation contributing over the next 10 years to a new, larger hangar complex at Archerfield airport in Brisbane, enabling LifeFlight Australia to double its current capacity for base maintenance activities.
“Being able to operate from these new heavy maintenance facilities, to be constructed by the Archerfield Airport Corporation, will deliver the modern and efficient maintenance operation that will be needed to support the growing demand for the aeromedical services required of LifeFlight by the government,” states van de Velde.
Last year, the Queensland Government provided $60.2 million toward the Brisbane Airport Corporation's regional aeromedical hub for both LifeFlight and the Royal Flying Doctors Service. The Brisbane super base is due for completion at the end of 2024.