It has been wonderful to see the state governments of NSW and the ACT step up to fund a rescue helicopter service.
The Snowy Hydro SouthCare rescue helicopter made its last flight on March 31, 2017 with the two governments seeing the rescue helicopter as an essential service.
Together, they have committed to fully funding eight purpose-built helicopters as part of an ongoing program serving southern NSW — without the need for community fundraising.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Snowy Hydro SouthCare rescue helicopter has saved lives.
It is crucial to people in regional areas to have fast access to metropolitan hospitals and specialised doctors when an accident or emergency occurs.
The lives of many Cootamundra families have changed for the better through the life-saving work of Snowy Hydro SouthCare pilots and paramedics and to see the existence of a rescue helicopter secured for the future can only be a good thing.
The Snowy Hydro SouthCare service started in 1998 and since then Cootamundra businesses, individuals and families have been part of the region-wide fundraising to keep the service going.
Every charity should hope to see the day when they are no longer required and with the governments’ decision to fund the rescue service, the dollars of ordinary Australians will not longer be required.
This is as it should be; the price to pay for living away from a capital city should not be questionable medical services.
In Australia, everyone should have equal access to the chance for medical intervention in an accident or emergency; geography should not be a consideration in whether a life can be changed.
The rescue helicopter has helped bridge the divide between city and country like few other services.
In its new era, the eight helicopters will respond to missions across Southern NSW operating from four bases in Bankstown, Wollongong, Canberra and Orange.
Each aircraft will be fitted with the latest aviation and safety technology, including single engine performance and a greater range, night vision technology and a larger work-space for the medical crew in the rear of the aircraft.
Eighteen years in operation, 6,963 missions, thousands of volunteers; Snowy Hydro SouthCare has left an indelible mark on our local community.