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    Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Neil Roberts

    New $10 million Rio Tinto sponsorship to boost EMQ rescue helicopter service

    Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Neil Roberts

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    New $10 million Rio Tinto sponsorship to boost EMQ rescue helicopter service

    Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts and Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Energy, Doug Ritchie today announced a new $10 million commitment to community safety across Queensland.

    Mr Roberts said Rio Tinto’s $10 million, 10 year sponsorship of the EMQ Helicopter Rescue Service would enhance the service’s operations.

    “EMQHR operates a fleet of five helicopters from bases in Cairns, Townsville and Brisbane thanks to a $19.7 million operating budget provided by the State Government,” Mr Roberts said.

    “While the dedicated and professional pilots and crews save lives almost every day, most Queenslanders will particularly remember the work of the two Brisbane-based crews in rescuing 43 people from the devastating inland tsunami which hit the Lockyer Valley in January.

    “Their efforts were recognised with two international rescue awards and most recently with the Pride of Australia National heroism medal last week.

    “Rio Tinto’s sponsorship of $1 million a year over the next 10 years will be in addition to what the State Government provides, and I thank Rio Tinto for their support of this vital service.

    “Already we are looking at using the first year of the Rio Tinto funds to increase the capacity of the three AW139 rescue helicopters, allowing them to fly for longer without the need to refuel.

    “During our partnership with Rio Tinto, we will continue to consult with our expert crews, engineers & support staff about how to use this money to further enhance EMQHR’s capabilities, so that it can take its already exceptional service to the next level for the benefit of all Queenslanders.”

    Mr Ritchie said Rio Tinto was very proud to be supporting such an important community safety service like the EMQ Helicopter Rescue Service.

    “This vital service is responsible for saving lives and keeping Queenslanders safe all year round,” he said.

    “Safety is a core value for Rio Tinto but our commitment to safety goes beyond the mine gate.

    “Through this sponsorship Rio Tinto is providing an enduring safety commitment to Queensland, a place we have called home for more than 40 years.

    “The professionalism and dedication of the EMQ Helicopter Rescue Service staff and their willingness to go above and beyond was on show for all to see during the natural disasters at the start of the year.

    “Rio Tinto actively supported Queenslanders during the floods and cyclone with a $2 million donation, as well as using our workforce in flood and cyclone preparation and recovery, and in the mud army.

    “We see this sponsorship as an initiative that further demonstrates our long term commitment to Queensland and Queenslanders,” Mr Ritchie said.

    Minister Roberts and Mr Ritchie were joined by the Grantham Rescue pilots Peter Row and Mark Kempton at today’s announcement at Archerfield Airport.

    EMQ Helicopter Rescue Service Pilot Peter Row said it was important for the service to work closely with all sectors of the community not only in times of disaster but all year round.

    “With Rio Tinto coming on board, the service will undertake upgrades that will greatly enhance our capabilities in any future disasters as well our day to day operations,” Mr Row said.

    EMQ Helicopter Rescue Service Pilot Mark Kempton said the approaching 12 month anniversary of the January 2011 summer floods and Cyclone was a chance to reflect and remember.

    “We remember all the survivors that were saved via our wonderful EMQ Rescue helicopter network, and the difference that has made to so many families right across our great state,” Mr Kempton said.

    “With the brilliant partnership and drive of Rio Tinto supporting the EMQ helicopter rescue network, our operational capabilities will be enhanced and help us save more lives benefiting all of our communities.

    “EMQ Helicopter Rescue exists so that others may live and the Aussie spirit of helping those in need rides on every machine EMQ flies.

    “The generous donation made by Rio Tinto will see us develop these lifesaving skills and improve all our operational capabilities in many ways.

    “We look forward to a bright future with the support and partnership of Rio Tinto,” he said.

    Media Contact:
    Minister’s Office – Scott Chandler 0488 096 204
    Rio Tinto – Thea Phillips 0467 782 811