THE Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service recently took delivery of two custom-built stands to help its engineers do daily maintenance and pre-flight safety checks of the familiar yellow and red Augusta Westland AW 139 chopper.
State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin yesterday (Monday, 1 February) visited the Service’s South Lismore Headquarters to see how Senior Base Engineer Darryl Stevens and his team of three engineers are putting the work stands to good use.
Ms Saffin said these stands – one for the helicopter tail platform and another crossover stand for the cockpit area — were funded by a $10,249 small grant under the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program 2020, one which she was very pleased to be able to help deliver.
“Darryl tells me that quality control and safety are paramount to keeping the rescue helicopter ready to fly into action 24/7 so he and his team really appreciate the additional equipment,” Ms Saffin said.
“The highly professional Lismore-based team of pilots, crew members, paramedics, doctors, ground crew and support staff clocked up its 10,000th mission just before COVID hit last year.
“This is a remarkable achievement because so many of these call-outs result in local people’s lives being saved across the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands.”
Ms Saffin said Regional Marketing Manager Zeke Huish says it costs an estimated $3.5 million each year in fundraising to keep the service operating. “I encourage everyone to donate generously and to support the Service’s network of op shops. A big thank you to all volunteers who staff them,” Ms Saffin said.
“I continue to lobby in Parliament for the NSW Government to increase the Community Building Partnership Program allocation for each electorate from $300,000 to between $600,000 and $1 million so more worthwhile projects like this one can be realised.”
SAFETY FIRST: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Senior Base Engineer Darryl Stevens.
Media Contact: Peter Ellem 0437 303 875