Regional Queenslanders big winners in $334m 10-year RFDS funding flight path
Published Friday, 03 June, 2022 at 12:52 PM
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
The Honourable Cameron Dick
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath
Regional Queenslanders will have the certainty of better access to medical treatment for the next decade as a result of a new ten-year deal between the Palaszczuk Government and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick announced the additional $334 million in funding for the deal ahead of this month’s State Budget.
“The Royal Flying Doctor Service is officially recognised as a Queensland Great, and rightly so,” the Treasurer said.
“In a state the size of Queensland, the RFDS plays a vital role in ensuring that no matter where Queenslanders live, they can get access to the medical services they need.
“The logistics and planning needed to operate the RFDS are considerable, so today’s announcement provides the certainty the organisation requires to meet the future needs of Queenslanders.
“This future-proofing infrastructure is about us continuing to ensure Queenslanders have access to the care they need, no matter where they live.
“Today’s announcements also includes an additional Queensland Government contribution of $60.2 million toward the Brisbane Airport Corporation’s $72 million medical infrastructure upgrade, comprising.
- $25 million to RFDS and $10.4m for LifeFlight Australia to assist their contributions to BAC’s new aeromedical hub; and
- $24.8 million in advance rent for State agencies including QHealth’s Retrieval Services Queensland and QGAir’s use of the facility.
Construction of the new Queensland Regional Aeromedical hub 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.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said that the Government appreciates the decades of tremendous service provided by the RFDS and today’s announcements confirm this will continue.
“In all weather, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the RFDS is there to care for Queenslanders in need wherever they may be,” the Minister said.
“This a great win for Queenslanders living outside the south-east.
It better connects and supports our regions.
“It enhances the RFDS network of nine aeromedical bases across the State,”
The new Queensland Regional Aeromedical Base is a 14,470m² multi-tenanted facility located between Brisbane Airport’s two runways at the Airport North Precinct.
It will accommodate the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS), LifeFlight, and Queensland Health and QAS facilities.
It will feature new patient transfer facilities, state-of-the-art hangars for fixed and rotary wing aircraft, training and administration areas.
RFDS Chief Executive Officer Meredith Staib said working with Queensland Health allowed aeromedical services to be operated in a more coordinated and efficient fashion by providing a fully-integrated service.
“We are grateful for the Queensland Government’s 10-year commitment to regional Queenslanders, allowing us to deliver on our promise to provide the finest care to the furthest corner,” said Ms Staib.
LifeFlight Australia Deputy Chair the Hon. Jim Elder said this $10.4 million will enable LifeFlight to become part of one the most advanced aeromedical centres in the country.
“LifeFlight will have the capacity to house the unique combination of two Challenger 604 fixed wing aircraft and two highly advanced AW139 helicopters in a purpose-built hangar.
“The patient transfer centre will be the most advanced of its kind.
“Positioning it centrally between the hangars of all three aeromedical services will ensure smooth, integrated treatment of patients, which will be particularly vital if we are helping multiple people being airlifted from significant mass casualty events,” said Mr Elder.
BAC’s CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said the improvements offered by BAC’s parallel runway system and the greater efficiency on offer at the new facility will bolster our envied aeromedical health responses.
“Minutes can literally be the difference between life and death when it comes to aeromedical services.
“Brisbane Airport provides the quickest possible response time to get planes and helicopters on their way to the regions and to bring patients into Queensland’s major hospitals,” said Mr de Graaff.
The Queensland Aeromedical Base is scheduled for completion in April 2024.
- RFDS lands on average 10 times a day at Brisbane, transporting patients to the care they need
- 20 aircraft, 96 nurses, 71 pilots, 58 doctors and 32 engineers
- 9 bases and 12,300 patients flown
- 8.37m km flown in 2021 – an increase of 640,000 annual km since 2011, the equivalent of flying around the world 16 times
- 12,318 patients flown in 2021 – compared to 11,239 patient flown in 2011.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue in Queensland
- RACQ LifeFlight Rescue’s community helicopters, Air Ambulance jets, Critical Care Doctors, Flight Nurses and Flight Paramedics came to the aid of 6, 846 people in 2021
- RACQ LifeFlight Rescue community helicopters flew a total of 3, 450 hours in 2021
- 7 helicopters ready respond to community taskings
- 1 Special Mission Rescue helicopter
- 3 Challenger 604 Air Ambulance jets
- 6 helicopter and 2 Air Ambulance bases in Queensland
- 51 Pilots, 20 Aircrew Officers, 150 Critical Care Doctors, 17 Flight Nurses, 36 Flight Paramedics (including QAS).
- Geoff Breusch 0417 272 875 (Treasurer)
- Martin Phillip 0407 675 008 (Minister D'Ath)