In times of disaster or medical emergencies, access to vital transport, rescue and healthcare services can often be the difference between life or death – particularly in regional and rural areas such as the Central Highlands.
‘Enter the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) and RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service,’ Mayor Kerry Hayes said.
‘We are so fortunate to have these charities operating in our region, and that’s why council last month resolved to donate $7,500 to each.
‘Both crews provide a lifeline in times of need, whether it be transporting a patient to a hospital in Brisbane, rescuing stranded people in a flood or bringing in fly-in fly-out GPs and nurses to rural areas.’
Mayor Hayes said council also agreed to waive the Emerald Airport landing fees for the two charities for the 2021-22 financial year.
‘The RFDS landed 452 times in 2020-21, and based on these figures, the fee waiver will equate to approximately $37,651,’ he said.
‘For the helicopter rescue service, it landed 48 times last financial year, equating to approximately $2,621 in fee waivers this year.’
This will be the ninth year council has provided financial and in-kind support to the two charities.
RFDS (Queensland Section) Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib thanked council for their continued support of the Flying Doctor.
‘The RFDS relies heavily on the generosity of supporters, such as council, to ensure we can continue delivering vital healthcare services to regional, rural and remote Queensland,’ Ms Staib said.
‘We’re incredibly grateful for the donation by Central Highlands Regional Council, as well as the pledge to waive Emerald Airport landing fees.’
RACQ Capricorn Rescue Executive Director Mark Fewtrell said RACQ CapRescue is delighted to be receiving continued support from council.
‘As a community run organisation, we rely heavily on the generosity of local businesses and donors to ensure we continue operating our world class aeromedical search and rescue services to Central Queensland,’ Mr Fewtrell said.
‘With the significant decline in revenue, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still being felt by the organisation.
‘Now more than ever, this donation from the Central Highlands Regional Council means a great deal to CapRescue.’
Council also resolved to donate $7,500 to the Heart of Australia program, making this the fifth consecutive year a financial donation has been made.
Heart of Australia delivers monthly specialist medical investigation and treatment clinics to regional, rural and remote areas.
‘Council is proud to support these charities and contribute to essential emergency, primary and preventative healthcare for our communities,’ Mayor Hayes said.