Council’s support for chopper’s softer landings
  • Wednesday 22 June 2011

Sunshine Coast Council will increase its support for the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter in the 2011/12 budget.

The emergency chopper service, which undertakes more than 1000 missions every year at a cost in excess of $7.5 million, has saved uncountable lives through the efforts of its flying and medical crews and council is committed to ensuring it receives ongoing support at Sunshine Coast Airport.

Council will contribute to this essential service with a $58,508 subsidy, reducing lease charges at the airport, along with a total exemption from other airport charges.

In previous years, council has assisted in reducing the service’s landing charges by $16,165, however from the next financial year council will also contribute to the chopper’s site rental to the tune of $42,343.

Financial Management and Business Performance Portfolio Councillor Chris Thompson said the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter service’s record spoke for itself, marking it as one of the most significant essential services on the Coast.

“The chopper has seen action on our beaches, rescuing swimmers who have run into trouble in the surf, as well as climbers and bushwalkers in the hinterland,” he said.

“For injured people often trapped in otherwise inaccessible places, the service can literally be the difference between life and death.

“It is important we continue to support the rescue service as best we can, and this increase will go a long way to doing that.”

AGL Action Rescue Helicopter chair Don Moffatt said he welcomed the increased funding.

“We are a charity, and as for most, this has been one of our hardest years, so this extra funding is timely,” he said.

“Every bit of help we can get at this time ensures we continue to provide what is a free service to those in distress.”

Mr Moffatt said while the chopper service receives 50% of its funding from the State Government plus the concessions from council the remainder of its budget is sought through charitable contributions.