RACQ expands helicopter rescue fleet to Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay

RACQ expands helicopter rescue fleet to Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay

2-Jul-2013 Source: RACQ

The RACQ now sponsors the entire fleet of community rescue helicopters across Queensland, with the addition today of the Maroochydore and Bundaberg-based Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service.

RACQ Group Chief Executive Officer Ian Gillespie said the expansion to the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Burnett substantially enhances the RACQ’s community rescue network.

“Becoming the naming rights sponsor of the Sunshine Coast service (formerly the AGL Action Rescue Helicopters) has been a goal we have been working towards for many years,” Mr Gillespie said.

“The service plays a vital role in protecting the many Queenslanders who live in the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Burnett regions.

“It is the longest running community helicopter provider in Queensland, having been formed 34 years ago, and we’ve wanted to be involved with it since we took on our first helicopter sponsorship – that of Gold Coast and Toowoomba-based CareFlight – in 1993.”

Mr Gillespie said the RACQ network also included Mackay-based RACQ CQ Rescue, RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue in Rockhampton, and Mount Isa’s RACQ NQ Rescue.

As naming rights sponsor, Mr Gillespie said the RACQ had made an initial five-year commitment but hoped to be part of the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Burnett communities for much longer.

The sponsorship would provide $1.5 million per year, plus CPI increases, to the service, taking RACQ’s annual support of community helicopters to almost $5 million.

“With bases in Maroochydore and Bundaberg, the service covers more than 100,000km² – reaching beyond Town of 1770 in the north and Caboolture in the south,” Mr Gillespie said.

“The RACQ is the State’s largest club and peak motoring organisation and has been part of Queensland for 108 years. We’ve been involved in helicopter rescue for two decades and we look forward to a long association with the Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay Burnett service.”

Mr Gillespie said the five RACQ-sponsored community-based aero-medical and rescue services would now provide a mantle of safety to more than four million people across Queensland.

He said the current fleet of RACQ-sponsored helicopters flew almost 1400 missions a year and he expected that number, with the addition of the Maroochydore and Bundaberg-based choppers, to increase dramatically.

“Like RACQ, the five services making up this helicopter network provide peace of mind 24-hours a day, 365 days a year – not just for our members, but for all Queenslanders,” Mr Gillespie said.

“In the case of the rescue helicopters and their dedicated crews, their work can literally mean the difference between life and death – especially for motorists injured in car crashes.

“That’s why we’re involved in the helicopter rescue services – and it’s why our 1.2 million members overwhelmingly support that investment of their funds.”

Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service Chief Executive Officer David Donaldson said having RACQ on board as naming rights sponsor heralded a new era of stability for the service.

“This commitment from RACQ demonstrates its support for all Queensland communities,” Mr Donaldson said.

“We are excited to be part of the RACQ family, alongside its other community helicopter services.

“We are also pleased that, with RACQ’s blessing, AGL is staying on as a major sponsor, as that will mean additional, much needed funding for our local service.”

Visit www.racq.com.au/about_us/community/sponsorships for more information about the RACQ Helicopter Rescue Network.

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