Mining Giant Extends $335,000 Support to Rescue Helicopter

BHP Billiton and its joint venture partners have extended their support for the Mackay-based rescue helicopter service with a $335,000, five-year sponsorship that will help save hundreds of lives across the region.

RACQ CQ Rescue CEO Martin Cleland said the community-funded rescue helicopter service relied on the support of companies like BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC) to continue to offer its vital service across the region.

“When illness or injury strike in a remote part of Central Queensland the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter service is a vital part of the emergency response and we simply couldn’t do what we do without corporate support,” Mr Cleland said.

“It’s terrific that companies like BMA and BMC respect the work we do and appreciate the value of supporting our helicopter because with their ongoing commitment we can continue to provide our vital aeromedical service.

“Most of our patients never envisage they will need our help, but when they do, they become very aware of how important it is to have a helicopter rescue service at the forefront of rapid response critical care on call day and night.”

BMA Asset President Rag Udd said the organisation had proudly supported the CQ Rescue Helicopter service since its inception in 1996 because it was an emergency health service that was critical to the local community.

“The overwhelming majority of our employees live locally in Central Queensland and by supporting this service we know we’re doing our bit to ensure the community has the services it relies on in an emergency situation,’’ Mr Udd said.

“Safety at our operations is our highest priority, but on those occasions when incidents do occur, it is very reassuring to know we can call on this service to respond should it be required.’’

RACQ CQ Rescue is responsible for an area four times the size of Tasmania which includes the coal mining areas of Clermont, Dysart, Moranbah, Collinsville and Glenden, the sugar-cane growing areas of Sarina and Proserpine and the tourist destinations of the Whitsunday Islands and Airlie Beach.

Mr Cleland said it cost more than $8.3 million annually to keep the helicopter rescue service in the sky and a large proportion of this money came from community donations and sponsorship. The service continually seeks more support from the community it serves.

“Every day, with every life we save, we are continually proving our worth to this community and we are very thankful BMA and BMC also recognises this,” Mr Cleland said.

In 20 years of operation, RACQ CQ Rescue has rescued, transferred, retrieved and winched people in almost 7000 missions and the number of missions is increasing every year showing how important it is to continue to support it.