By CAITLIN CROWLEY
A Queensland-based, third generation family-owned cattle company has partnered with LifeFlight to help build a new helicopter base for the rescue service in Roma.
The facility was officially opened yesterday and will be known as the Lee Family and Australian Country Choice LifeFlight Centre, after the Lee Family Group came onboard as the project’s naming rights sponsor.
Australian Country Choice (ACC) Group is the world’s world’s largest family-owned, vertically integrated cattle and beef supply chain organisation and manages close to 1.75 million hectares of pastoral, grazing and farm land carrying up to 300,000 cattle.
“For people in real need in isolated circumstance – there is no sight better than the vision of a LifeFlight rescue helicopter coming into view during an emergency,” ACC CEO Anthony Lee said.
“Our investment in this new Roma facility is testament to the reliance we place on the LifeFlight service.”
Senator Anthony Chisholm, LifeFlight Australia Board Chair Jim Elder, LifeFlight Foundation Board Chair Rob Borbidge and LifeFlight South West Regional Advisory Committee Chair Kate Scott unveiled a plaque at the facility as part of yesterday’s opening.
“It’s really great to be able to see the new base finally come together and it’s easy to see that the multi-million-dollar facility is vital for future-proofing the aeromedical service in the region,” Rob Borbidge said.
The state-of-the-art base, which features a hangar large enough to efficiently house an AW139 aircraft, will be home to the LifeFlight Surat Gas Aeromedical Service (SGAS) chopper and crew.
LifeFlight SGAS Pilot Simon Newman said the new facility will help crew members work more efficiently, with more appropriate space to conduct on-site training, administration, engineering and maintenance activities.
“With the base being purpose-built, it is tailored to the needs of pilots, medical and support staff,” Newman said.
“That means it will be a lot easier and far more efficient to do our jobs, so that we are able to cater for the needs of our patients, as well as be ready for the next mission even more quickly.”
The local ambulance service will also have straight-through access to the hangar and apron for patient and medical equipment transfer.
The project cost $3.4 million, with more than $2.3 million raised through local businesses, individual donors, philanthropic and community support.
“This project has been a true partnership which has involved the Federal Government, generous community members, businesses, major donors, the Maranoa Regional Council, our SGAS partners and LifeFlight Australia,” Kate Scott said.
“As we look to the future of LifeFlight in our region, we will continue to support projects which help to deliver vital medical retrieval services.”
The federal government also chipped in just over $1 million for the project.
“The Albanese Government has backed this project so LifeFlight has the facilities it needs to save lives in the future,” Anthony Chisholm said.
“This project highlights our commitment to delivering the services and infrastructure that regional communities need.
“Funding projects such as this ensures our regions remain a great place to live, work and visit.”
Last year the Roma LifeFlight SGAS helicopter crew helped 78 people, with the top five mission categories including motor vehicle incidents (17 missions), animal falls (7 missions) and cardiac/chest pain incidents (7 missions).