Below is a media statement published just now by the Premier, Hon Mark McGowan MLA and Minister for Emergency Services, Hon Fran Logan MLA
- Secure long-term funding put in place for the first time for the South West helicopter
- $9.3 million a year allocated for the service, giving it the certainty it deserves
- McGowan Labor Government supporting critical regional infrastructure
For the first time in its operation, the RAC South West Emergency Rescue Helicopter has been allocated secure funding to continue its vital service far into the future.
Today’s funding announcement by the McGowan Labor Government ensures the helicopter is now properly funded.
Under the previous Liberal National government, the South West helicopter, which began operating on February 1, 2016, was only partly funded until June 2018.
The McGowan Labor Government has worked to secure long-term funding for the helicopter in a tight budget environment and will allocate $27.9 million across the forward estimates.
Last financial year, the helicopter transported 172 patients and since it began operating in February 2016, the helicopter has transported more than 283 patients.
The Bunbury-based RAC helicopter and the Perth-based RAC helicopter cover 95 per cent of Western Australia’s population.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
“Today’s announcement underscores the importance this Government puts on vital regional infrastructure and provides certainty of service for the South West.
“I’m pleased that, for the first time, my Government has secured long-term funding for this important emergency service.
“Unfortunately this helicopter was only funded on a temporary basis by the previous Liberal National government – they left government with only 15 months of funding remaining.
“We’ve fixed that problem now and provided long-term funding to provide certainty for this life-saving service.”
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan:
“It was clear to me when I visited the RAC South West Emergency Rescue Helicopter base in Bunbury recently that this service needed secure funding.
“As Emergency Services Minister, I was shocked that the previous Liberal National government chose not to provide funding certainty for this important service.
“We have been working through the budgetary processes line by line to fix the mess left behind by the previous government so we could provide that much-needed certainty.
“For the Liberals and National to try to claim this vital service was being scrapped with absolutely no evidence was highly irresponsible.
“Under the McGowan Government, the RAC South West Emergency Rescue Helicopter will remain a permanent service in the South West.”
Comments attributed to Bunbury MLA Don Punch:
“I have raised my community’s concerns with the Premier and Minister and I’m pleased they’ve moved swiftly to secure this funding. The Bunbury community can now rest assured that the helicopter will remain, long into the future.
“There has unfortunately been unfounded speculation about the service, brought on by the previous government’s failure to provide long-term funding.
“The South West Emergency Rescue Helicopter is a priority for my community and this funding will allow it to continue to provide its outstanding service to the South West.”